Bioconversion of municipal solid waste-sludge blend by conventional high-rate and two-phase anaerobic digestion was studied. RDF (refused-derived fuel)-quality feed produced in a Madison, Wisconsin, USA, MRF (materials-recovery facility) was used. High-rate digestion experiments were conducted with bench-scale digesters under target operating conditions developed from an economic feasibility study. The effects of digestion temperature, RDF content of digester feed, HRT, loading rate, RDF particle size, and RDF pretreatment with cellulase or dilute solutions of NaOH or lime on digester performance were studied. A pilot-scale two-phase digestion plant was operated with 80:20 (weight ratio) RDF-sludge blends to show that this process exhibited a higher methane yield, and produced a higher methane-content digester gas than those obtained by single-stage, high-rate anaerobic digestion.

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