A thermophilic anaerobic digester with ultrafilter (TADU) for solids separation offers potential advantages of higher VS destruction, biomass retention, and pathogen removal. However, potential disadvantages include ultrafilter fouling, decreasing flux, and high VFA concentrations. In this study, a thermophilic anaerobic digester coupled to a sintered titanium, cross-flow ultrafilter was operated for over five months. Dairy manure was digested (HRT of 23 days). The filtrate VFA concentration was low (220 mg/L as HAc), average VS destruction was 49%, and a low average effluent fecal coliform concentration of 102 MPN/100 mL was observed. The low coliform value may be beneficial if dewatered biosolids are used for livestock bedding since low pathogen counts help prevent mastitis. Ultrafilter fluxes of 40–80 L/m2-hr were maintained by cleaning using caustic (3.5% NaOH) followed by water and acid (3% phosphoric acid). Sand from livestock bedding was found to damage the pump and ultrafilter. If TADU were implemented at full scale, then replacing sand bedding with dewatered biosolids should be considered.

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