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Recuperative Thickening: Decoupling the SRT from the HRT Reduces Capital Expenditures and Increases Biogas Production for CHP Utilization

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The Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Wastewater Treatment Facility (GJJWWTF) is producing 95 percent of its own electrical demand through a combined heat and power (CHP) process fueled by anaerobic biogas. This level of methane production is only possible through co-digestion of dairy whey from local industries with municipal sludge and the utilization of a recuperative thickening loop to increase the solids retention time (SRT) of the primary digester. Recuperative thickening (Torpey's process) recycles active biomass and increases the SRT without increasing the size of the digester (Poling, 1996). In 2009, the average SRT for the primary digester was reported to be 13.4 days and would continue to decrease in the foreseeable future as high strength dairy whey loadings increased. The upgrade of the sludge thickening systems and inclusion of a recuperative thickening loop at the GJJWWTF, as part of a larger facility-wide upgrade has significantly reduced the capital expenditure required for the upgrade and has improved ADG production.

Keywords: Anaerobic Digestion; Co-digestion; Dairy Whey; Mesophilic; Recuperative Thickening; Torpey Process

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-01-01

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