Anaerobic digestion of residual municipal solid waste (MSW) has become more important than the digestion of source separated biowaste. More than 52% of the capacity available in Europe was designed for digestion of residual municipal waste by the end of 2006, while this was only 13% in 1998. Partial digestion of residual waste organics, by which only a part of the organics is digested, has been implemented to reduce the need for dewatering and subsequent wastewater treatment. The digestate coming from part of the organics is immediately mixed with the non-digested organic fraction. This organic fraction is drier and still contains a lot of energy which can be used to dry the digestate during the aerobic composting of the mixture of digested and undigested organics. Such a MBT-plant has been operating for over a year whereby 2/3 of the organics (including sludge cake) are digested (25,000 t/year) and mixed after digestion with the remaining 1/3 of the organics. Biogas production averages 125.7 Nm2 per ton fed and contained 56.2% of methane. The mixture of digestate and non-digested organics is aerated in tunnels during 4 to 6 weeks. The stabilized endproduct is landfilled, meeting the stringent German standards for inert landfills. By using a dry fermentation able to produce a digestate at 35% solids, there is no need for dewatering the digestate so that no wastewater is produced.
Research Article|April 01 2008
Partial stream digestion of residual municipal solid waste
Water Sci Technol (2008) 57 (7): 1073-1077.