The rate-limiting step during anaerobic digestion is the hydrolysis of the particulate organic matter and methanogenesis. Certain elements, such as iron, nickel and cobalt and some growth factors such as coenzymes are needed for the adequate growth of the organisms. The main objective of this research was to enhance anaerobic digestion of primary sludge combining thermal and alkaline pre-treatment with stimulation of the methanogenic activity by adding yeast extract. Primary sludge was exposed, separately, to alkaline and thermal pre-treatment procedures. After this pre-treatment, different amounts of yeast extract were added to the sludge. The best COD, TSS and VSS removal rates were observed without pre-treatment and with the addition of 0.1% in weight of yeast extract. The highest specific methane production was obtained with thermal pre-treatment and 0.1% yeast addition. A second experimental stage was run for a closer analysis of the preliminary results. Thermal pre-treatment and 0.1% yeast addition was tested. The best results regarding both COD, TSS and VSS removal rates and methane production were obtained without thermal pre-treatment and with addition of yeast extract. The calculated F-values for the ANOVA-test show that the main influencing factor was the addition of yeast extract where the Biochemical Methane Production was doubled compared with the blank. The highest values for the hydrolysis constants were obtained at hydraulic retention times of six days after adding 0.1% of yeast extract.

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