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Anaerobic Co-Digestion for Increased Renewable Energy

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Significant opportunities exist to increase renewable energy production using existing municipal anaerobic digesters. Many wastes can be added to co-digest more carbon and produce more methane. The objectives of this study were to identify and compare potential co-digestates, determine synergistic, antagonistic and neutral co-digestion outcomes, quantify performance of co-digestion for selected wastes and estimate economic benefits. Over 80 wastes were identified from 54 facilities within 160 km of an existing municipal digester. The most promising wastes (26 wastes) were characterized by biochemical methane potential (BMP) and other testing. A simple economic comparison identified the greatest benefits for seven co-digestates. Performance was investigated using bench-scale digesters receiving synthetic primary sludge with and without co-digestates. Methane production rates in co-digesters were as much as 180% greater than anticipated from the additional chemical oxygen demand (COD). Therefore, significant synergism was observed. The VS destruction efficiencies were 49 and 33% higher when co-digestates were present. Co-digestion is one method to increase renewable energy production via anaerobic digestion

Keywords: Co-digestion; anaerobic; anaerobic digestion; biochemical methane potential; renewable energy

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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