In light of global warming mitigation efforts, increasing sludge disposal costs, and need for reduction in the carbon footprint of wastewater treatment plants, innovation in treatment technology has been tailored towards energy self-sufficiency. The AB process is a promising technology for achieving maximal energy recovery from wastewaters with minimum energy expenditure and therefore inherently reducing excess sludge production. Characterization of this novel sludge and its comparison with the more conventional B-stage sludge are necessary for a deeper understanding of AB treatment process design. This paper presents a case study of a pilot-scale AB system treating municipal wastewaters as well as a bio- (biochemical methane potential and adenosine tri-phosphate analysis) and physico-chemical properties (chemical oxygen demand, sludge volume index, dewaterability, calorific value, zeta potential and particle size distribution) comparison of the organic-rich A-stage against the B-stage activated sludge. Compared to the B-sludge, the A-sludge yielded 1.4 to 4.9 times more methane throughout the 62-week operation.

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