A new process has been developed for efficient anaerobic digestion of the organic fraction of municipal solid waste. The BTA-process comprises pretreatment of incoming waste followed by a three-phase anaerobic biology consisting of acidification, solids hydrolysis and methanization. One main fraction of organic wastes is cellulose causing a diauxie effect during anaerobic digestion. Acidification of the pretreated waste occurs spontaneously, and is not limited by the level of anaerobic microorganisms in the waste. Solid retention time and pH in the hydrolysis reactor have an important influence on volatile solids degradation. Favourable conditions are pH 6.7 and solid retention times of 50 to 60 hours. Cellulose to lignin ratios in the products indicate an extensive degradation of cellulose.

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