Feasibility of anaerobic digestion of pig slurry is dependent, among other factors, on the biogas production rate, which is low compared with other organic wastes, and on the profitable uses of surplus thermal energy produced, a limiting factor in warm geographical areas. The objectives of this work are determining whether low temperature thermal pretreatment (<90°C) improves pig slurry anaerobic digestion, and determining whether organic matter degradation during the thermal pretreatment is due to thermal phenomena (80°C) or to enzymatic ones (60°C). The thermal degradation tests showed that hydrolysis occurring during the thermal pretreatment is due to thermal phenomena. The increase in soluble substances were significantly larger at 80°C than at 60°C (both during 3 h). Two types of slurry were used in the batch anaerobic digestion tests. The effect of thermal pretreatment differed with the type of slurry: it was positive with almost non-degraded slurries containing low NH4+-N concentration, and negative (inhibition of the anaerobic digestion process) when using degraded slurries with high NH4+-N content.

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