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Transesterification of Waste Activated Sludge for Biosolids Reduction and Biodiesel Production

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Transesterification of waste activated sludge (WAS) was evaluated as a cost-effective technique to reduce excess biosolids and recover biodiesel feedstock from activated sludge treatment processes. A laboratory-scale sequencing batch reactor (SBR) was operated with recycling transesterification-treated WAS back to the aeration basin. Seventy percent recycling of WAS resulted in a 48% reduction of excess biosolids in comparison with a conventional SBR, which was operated in parallel as the control SBR. Biodiesel recovery of 8.0% (dried weight basis) was achieved at an optimum transesterification condition using acidic methanol and xylene as cosolvent. Average effluent soluble chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total suspended solids (TSS) concentrations from the test SBR and control SBR were comparable, indicating that the recycling of transesterification-treated WAS did not have detrimental effect on the effluent quality. This study demonstrated that transesterification and recycling of WAS may be a feasible technique for reducing excess biosolids, while producing valuable biodiesel feedstock from the activated sludge process.
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Keywords: biodiesel; biosolids reduction; solubilization; transesterification; waste activated sludge

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 February 2018

This article was made available online on 01 August 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Transesterification of waste activated sludge for biosolids reduction and biodiesel production".

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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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