This study evaluated the technical feasibility of the anaerobic co-digestion process in the context of typical North American solid waste. Using biological activity tests, an optimal mixture was identified with 25% organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) and 75% sewage sludge (65% raw primary sludge (RAW), 35% thickened WAS (TWAS)) based on biogas production. Also, based on the rate of biogas production, the most anaerobically biodegradable components of the OFMSW were paper and grass. The TWAS and the newspaper were found to be the least biodegradable components. Lab-scale testing indicated that alkaline pretreatment increased the biodegradability of the sewage sludge/OFMSW mixture the most, as compared to the untreated control. Thermochemically pretreated feedstocks inhibited anaerobic biodegradability as compared to the control, whereas the anaerobic biodegradability of thermally pretreated feed was not found to be significantly different from that of the control. Empirical models were developed based on alkaline dose, feed total solids concentration and particle size for biogas production and removal of TS and VS. All three experimental factors were found to be significant with respect to the response variables studied.

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