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A Comparative Study of Ultrasonic Pretreatment and an Internal Recycle for the Enhancement of Mesophilic Anaerobic Digestion

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The objective of this study was to investigate the use of ultrasonic energy in an internal recycle and pretreatment mode of operation relative to a conventional mode of mesophilic anaerobic digestion. The primary focus was to determine if using ultrasonics in a pretreatment mode and in an internal recycle line produced changes in performance relative to each other and the control. Using a relatively low-energy sonication system, the data showed that the addition of ultrasonic energy, in either a recycle line or as a pretreatment technology, improved anaerobic digestion efficiency for waste-activated sludge. There was a 13 to 21% increase in biogas yield and an increase in total and volatile solids destruction of 3 to 10.3 additional percentage points, depending on the ultrasonic dose and location. Dewatering of the biosolids following ultrasonic treatment was poorer, as measured by an increase in the optimum polymer conditioning dose. The addition of ultrasonics to the digestion systems generated a more stable biosolids product, with a 2 to 58% reduction in organo-sulfur gas production from dewatered biosolids cakes.
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Keywords: anaerobic digestion; internal recycle; pretreatment; sonication; ultrasonics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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    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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