This paper presents a mathematical model able to simulate under dynamic conditions the physical, chemical and biological processes prevailing in a OFMSW and sewage sludge anaerobic digestion system. The model proposed is based on differential mass balance equations for substrates, products and bacterial groups involved in the co-digestion process and includes the biochemical reactions of the substrate conversion and the kinetics of microbial growth and decay. The main peculiarity of the model is the surface based kinetic description of the OFMSW disintegration process, whereas the pH determination is based on a nine-order polynomial equation derived by acid-base equilibria. The model can be applied to simulate the co-digestion process for several purposes, such as the evaluation of the optimal process conditions in terms of OFMSW/sewage sludge ratio, temperature, OFMSW particle size, solid mixture retention time, reactor stirring rate, etc. Biogas production and composition can also be evaluated to estimate the potential energy production under different process conditions. In particular, model simulations reported in this paper show the model capability to predict the OFMSW amount which can be treated in the digester of an existing MWWTP and to assess the OFMSW particle size diminution pre-treatment required to increase the rate of the disintegration process, which otherwise can highly limit the co-digestion system.

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