Co-digestion of waste activated sludge (WAS) with agro-industrial organic wastewaters is a technology that is increasingly being applied in order to produce increased gas yield from the biomass. In this study, the effect of olive mill wastewater (OMW) on the performance of a cascade of two anaerobic continuous stirred tank (CSTR) reactors treating thickened WAS at mesophilic conditions was investigated. The objectives of this work were (a) to evaluate the use of OMW as a co-substrate to improve biogas production, (b) to determine the optimum hydraulic retention time that provides an optimised biodegradation rate or methane production, and (c) to study the system stability after OMW addition in sewage sludge. The biogas production rate at steady state conditions reached 0.73, 0.63, 0.56 and 0.46 lbiogas/lreactor/d for hydraulic retention times (HRTs) of 12.3, 14, 16.4 and 19.7 d. The average removal of soluble chemical oxygen demand (sCOD) ranged between 64 and 72% for organic loading rates between 0.49 and 0.75 g sCOD/l/d. Reduction in the volatile suspended solids ranged between 27 and 30%. In terms of biogas selectivity, values of 0.6 lbiogas/g tCOD removed and 1.1 lbiogas/g TVS removed were measured.

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