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Performance of Anaerobic Waste Activated Sludge Digesters After Microwave Pretreatment

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Effects of microwave pretreatment on waste activated sludge (WAS) in mesophilic semicontinuous digesters with acclimatized inoculum at solids retention times (SRTs) of 5, 10, and 20 days are presented. Batch digesters determined optimum microwave temperature, intensity, WAS concentration, and percentage of WAS pretreated for highest WAS solubilization (soluble to total chemical oxygen demand ratio [SCOD:TCOD]) and biogas production. Pretreatment results indicated the potential to damage floc structure and release 4.2-, 4.5-, and 3.6-fold higher soluble proteins, sugars, and SCOD:TCODs compared with controls, with nucleic acid release. Pretreatment increased dewaterability and bioavailability of WAS with 20% higher biogas production compared with controls in batch digestion. In semicontinuous digesters, relative (to control) improvements in removals dramatically increased, as SRT was shortened from 20 to 10 to 5 days, with 23 and 26% higher volatile solids removals for WAS pretreated to 96°C by microwave and conventional heating at a 5-day SRT.

Keywords: anaerobic digestion; microwave; pretreatment; solids retention time; solubilization; waste activated sludge

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/106143007X176004

Publication date: October 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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