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Anaerobic Codigestion of Municipal, Farm, and Industrial Organic Wastes: A Survey of Recent Literature

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Codigestion of organic wastes is a technology that is increasingly being applied for simultaneous treatment of several solid and liquid organic wastes. The main advantages of this technology are improved methane yield because of the supply of additional nutrients from the codigestates and more efficient use of equipment and cost-sharing by processing multiple waste streams in a single facility. Many municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in industrialized countries currently process wastewater sludge in large digesters. Codigestion of organic wastes with municipal wastewater sludge can increase digester gas production and provide savings in the overall energy costs of plant operations. Methane recovery also helps to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The goal of this literature survey was to summarize the research conducted in the last four years on anaerobic codigestion to identify applications of codigestion at WWTPs. Because the solids content in municipal wastewater sludge is low, this survey only focuses on codigestion processes operated at relative low solids content (slurry mode). Semi-solid or solid codigestion processes were not included.

Municipal wastewater sludge, the organic fraction of municipal solid waste, and cattle manure (CAM) are the main wastes most often used in codigestion processes. Wastes that are codigested with these main wastes are wood wastes, industrial organic wastes, and farm wastes. These are referred to in this survey as codigestates. The literature provides many laboratory studies (batch assays and bench-scale digesters) that assess the digestibility of codigestates and evaluate the performance and monitoring of codigestion, inhibition of digestion by codigestates, the design of the process (e.g., single-stage or two-stage processes), and the operation temperature (e.g., mesophilic or thermophilic). Only a few reports on pilot- and full-scale studies were found. These evaluate general process performance and pretreatment of codigestates, energy production, and treatment costs.
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Keywords: Anaerobic digestion; codigestion; digestibility; methane production; organic wastes

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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