Abstract

This work assessed if acid-phase digestion could improve volatile solids (VS) destruction and methane yield when co-digesting municipal sewage sludges (primary and waste activated sludge) and source separated organics (SSO). The SSO was made up of food waste and the organic fraction of municipal solid waste. Two lab-scale acid-phase digesters and three lab-scale methane-phase digesters were employed in order to determine the impacts of SSO co-digestion with municipal sludges both with and without acid-phase digestion as a pretreatment step. Reactors were operated at 35 °C using volatile solids loading rates of 34.2–44.1 g VS/LR-day for acid-phase digesters and 1.2–2.4 1 g VS/LR-day for methane-phase digesters. Solids retention times ranging from 1.2 to 1.5 day and 20.7 to 23.2 days were employed for acid-phase and methane-phase digesters, respectively. VS destruction ranged from 62% to 67%, with reactors receiving SSO achieving higher VS destruction. Results also show that reactors receiving SSO were able to handle organic loading increases of at least 39% without showing signs of overloading. Microbial community analysis revealed that SSO had a noticeable impact on acid-phase digestion with Megasphaera emerging as the most abundant genus.

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