The anaerobic co-digestion of three wastes (manure, rice straw and clay residue, an inorganic additive) at different concentration levels and their interactive effects on methanogenic activity were investigated in this work at thermophilic conditions in order to enhance hydrolytic activity and methane production. A central composite design and the response surface methodology were applied for the optimization of specific methanogenic activity (SMA) by assessing their interaction effects with a reduced number of experiments. The results showed a significant interaction among the wastes on the SMA and confirmed that co-digestion enhances methane production. Rice straw apparently did not supply a significant amount of substrate to make a difference in SMA or methane yield. On the other hand, clay residue had a positive effect as an inorganic additive for stimulating the anaerobic process, based on its mineral content and its adsorbent properties for ammonia. Finally, the optimal conditions for achieving a thermophilic SMA value close to 1.4 g CH4-COD/g VSS · d−1 were 20.3 gVSS/L of manure, 9.8 gVSS/L of rice straw and 3.3 gTSS/L of clay.

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