The anaerobic stabilization process depends - among other things - on the bio-availability of organic carbon. Through pre-treatment of the sludge which leads to the destruction of micro-organisms and to the setting-free of cell content substances (disintegration), the carbon can be microbially converted better and faster. Moreover, effects on the digestion are likely. However, only little experience is available in sludge treatment with pulsed electric fields. Laboratory-scale digestion tests have been run to analyse the influence of pulsed electric fields on the properties of sludge, anaerobic degradation, sludge water reload and foaming of digesters. The results will be compared with those of other disintegration methods (high pressure homogeniser, thermal treatment). The effect of pre-treatment on the sludge is shown by the COD release. Degrees of disintegration have been achieved up to 20%. The specific energy input was high. The energy consumption has been decreased by initial improvements (pre-heating to 55¡C). The filament bacteria were partially destroyed. The foam reduction in the digesters was marginal. The anaerobic degradation performance has been improved in every case. The degradation rate of organic matter increased about 9%. Due to the increase of degradation, there is a higher reload of the sludge-water with COD and nitrogen compounds.

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