Thermal hydrolysis is known for an efficient sludge disintegration capability to enhance biogas potential—but to which extent? Obviously, residual VSS concentration in digested sludge gives not sufficient information to predict additional biogas potential. In this paper, different types of waste activated sludge (WAS) were pre-hydrolysed by a full-scale Thermo-Pressure-Hydrolysis Process (Thermo-Druck-Hydrolyse, TDH) and break-down mechanisms on specific organic compounds were investigated. The IWA Anaerobic Digestion Model No.1 (ADM1) has been used for a systematic analysis of monitoring data gained from experimental work. The TDH process combined with anaerobic digestion can be well described by a modified ADM1 model that includes an XP-fraction (inactivated aerobic biomass and their decay products). More rapid and more complete degradation of TDH-treated sludge is represented by calibrated disintegration rate and disintegration factors, while biokinetic parameters of acetogenesis and methanogenesis show no sensitivity. TDH process impacts mainly biomass and decay products while inerts Xi already contained in the raw wastewater are hardly converted. Final concentration of soluble inerts in digestion effluent has been increased from 2% to 9% of influent COD due to thermal hydrolysis. An increase in biogas generation (ca. +80%) and in ammonia release (ca. +75%) can be explained by complete degradation of cell mass.

You do not currently have access to this content.