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Evaluation of Nanoscale Additives to Improve Sludge Conditioning and Dewatering

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Polymer-aided sludge dewatering still remains very complex. Recent emergence of nanotechnology provides new materials (nanoadditives) and tools to monitor naturally occurring sub-micron scale suspended particles, that can help bridge the knowledge gap in dewatering processes. This study is a first step in this effort. In this study bench-scale tests were performed to evaluate the impact of nanoscale materials (nanoadditives) on digested and waste activated sludge dewatering. Two nanoscale alumina (< 20 nm and ˜50 nm), nanosilica and bentonite nanoadditives were used with cationic polymer (NALCO 71940). Results indicated alumina nanoadditives lowered optimum polymer dose, filtration time and filtrate turbidity. Furthermore, this nanoadditive lowered the levels of naturally occurring (biogenic) sub-micron scale suspended solids in the filtrate. The “polymer - nanoadditive” mixing protocol impacted dewatering efficiency. The dewatering efficiency improved with the decrease in alumina particle size. Nanosilica and bentonite did not significantly improve dewatering efficiency. Additional studies are required to better understand the mechanisms involved and to develop detailed cost/benefit analyses.
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Keywords: Sludge dewatering; conditioning; nano alumina; nanomaterials; nanosilica

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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