Abstract

The present study describes a pilot-scale experimental validation of a forced-convection greenhouse solar dryer, combined with a biofilter, for controlled atmospheric emissions. This set-up was applied to the dewatering of sewage sludge from a biological plant that treated process wastewater in a commercial Mediterranean winery. Experiments were performed after the harvest, from September onwards, during the peak generation of sludge. The average drying rate during the first 10 days of operation ranged from 1.17 to 2.24 kg m−2 d−1, depending on the measurement method, during which the water content of the sludge was reduced from 90% down to 67%. Biofiltration was quite inefficient against greenhouse gases (methane and dinitrous oxide), and direct emissions during the drying process were on average 57 g CO2-eq m−2 d−1. Ammonia and volatile organic compounds were removed with average efficiencies of 71% and 35%, but ammonia losses through volatilization represented less than 2% of the initial nitrogen content. The sludge was dried further during November, to the lowest possible water content of 14%. Both the intermediate and final sludge dried materials were characterized for their agronomical value as organic fertilizers.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
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