Effects of Oxygen Exposure on Anaerobic Digester Sludge

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Recuperative thickening of anaerobic digester sludge (thickening with solids return) yields increased digester capacity. Common thickening methods cause oxygen exposure to the digester sludge. This study evaluated the effects of various levels of oxygen exposure on the acetoclastic methanogens. Gravity belt thickening had no detrimental effect on the acetoclastic activity. From a 7-day batch test with continuous oxygen exposure of digester sludge, a 12% loss in acetoclastic activity was predicted for a digester with a 20-day solids retention time (SRT) and 100% recycle with recuperative thickening via dissolved air flotation thickening. However, a greater loss (27%) was found from a long-term, bench-scale digester operated under similar conditions. This loss did not affect the digester performance, as measured by volatile solids destruction. This research suggests that recuperative thickening may not affect digester performance at a long SRT with constant operation, but may change the reserve capacity of the anaerobic community.

Keywords: acetoclastic methanogens; anaerobic digestion; oxygen exposure; recuperative thickening

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/106143006X111844

Publication date: April 1, 2007

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  • 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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