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Abstract

The paper presents the investigations aimed at the determination of the effect of time and wavelength of ultrasound field on the value of capillary suction time (CST), sludge thickening and dry matter of the excess sludge subjected to the process of stabilization. The investigations were carried out on the excess sludge which comes from communal waste treatment plant. The sludge was exposed to ultrasound field, using ultrasound generator with power of 1500 W, frequency of 20 kHz and amplitude 39.42 μm (which corresponded to the amplitude of 100%). Sonication of the sludge was carried out for different amplitudes and sonication times. The non-conditioned sludge and the sludge initially conditioned with ultrasound field were subjected to the process of stabilization in laboratory flasks (V = 0.5 dm3) for the period of 10 days. On each day, sludge thickening and dewatering capacities were determined. The sludge subjected to the effect of ultrasound field exhibited elevated levels of CST. However, the sonication time had positive effect on the increase in the degree of thickening for each of the amplitudes studied. Also, the process of stabilization positively affected final thickening and dewatering of the sludge.
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Abstract

The essence of the methane fermentation course is the phase nature of changes taking place during the process. The biodegradation degree of sewage sludge is determined by the effectiveness of the hydrolysis phase. Excess sludge, in the form of a flocculent suspension of microorganisms, subjected to the methane fermentation process show limited susceptibility to the biodegradation. Excess sludge is characterized by a significant content of volatile suspended solids equal about 65 ÷ 75%. Promising technological solution in terms of increasing the efficiency of fermentation process is the application of thermal modification of sludge with the use of dry ice. As a result of excess sludge disintegration by dry ice, denaturation of microbial cells with a mechanical support occurs. The crystallization process takes place and microorganisms of excess sludge undergo the so-called “thermal shock”. The aim of the study was to determine the effect of dry ice disintegration on the course of the methane fermentation process of the modified excess sludge. In the case of dry ice modification reagent in a granular form with a grain diameter of 0.6 mm was used. Dry ice was mixed with excess sludge in a volume ratio of 0.15/1, 0.25/1, 0.35/1, 0.45/1, 0.55/1, 0.65/1, 0.75/1, respectively. The methane fermentation process lasting for 8 and 28 days, respectively, was carried out in mesophilic conditions at 37°C. In the first series untreated sludge was used, and for the second and third series the following treatment parameters were applied: the dose of dry ice in a volume ratio to excess sludge equal 0.55/1, pretreatment time 12 hours. The increase of the excess sludge disintegration degree, as well as the increase of the digestion degree and biogas yield, was a confirmation of the supporting operation of the applied modification. The mixture of reactant and excess sludge in a volume ratio of 0.55/1 was considered the most favorable combination. In relation to not prepared sludge for the selected most favorable conditions of excess sludge modification, about 2.7 and 3-fold increase of TOC and SCOD values and a 2.8-fold increase in VFAs concentration were obtained respectively. In relation to the effects of the methane fermentation of non-prepared sludge, for modified sludge, about 33 percentage increase of the sludge digestion degree and about 31 percentage increase of the biogas yield was noticed.
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Abstract

Substitution of fossil fuels with alternative energy carriers has become necessary due to climate change and fossil fuel shortages. Fermentation as a way of producing biohydrogen, an attractive and environmentally friendly future energy carrier, has captured received increasing attention in recent years because of its high H2 production rate and a variety of readily available waste substrates used in the process. This paper discusses the state-of-the-art of fermentative biohydrogen production, factors affecting this process, as well as various bioreactor configurations and performance parameters, including H2 yield and H2 production rate.
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Abstract

The article describes problems related to intensification of energy production at a sewage treatment plant. The authors analyze anaerobic co-digestion of sludge from a water treatment plant and sewage treatment plant. The authors proposed a methodology of the research and analyzed the preliminary results, which showed that co-digestion of sewage and water sludge enhanced biogas production. The authors hope that the results of the study will provide a basis for development of methodology for sludge control and disposal.
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Abstract

Anaerobic digestion is an important technology for the bio-based economy. The stability of the process is crucial for its successful implementation and depends on the structure and functional stability of the microbial community. In this study, the total microbial community was analyzed during mesophilic fermentation of sewage sludge in full-scale digesters. The digesters operated at 34–35°C, and a mixture of primary and excess sludge at a ratio of 2:1 was added to the digesters at 550 m3/d, for a sludge load of 0.054 m3/(m3·d). The amount and composition of biogas were determined. The microbial structure of the biomass from the digesters was investigated with use of next-generation sequencing. The percentage of methanogens in the biomass reached 21%, resulting in high quality biogas (over 61% methane content). The abundance of syntrophic bacteria was 4.47%, and stable methane production occurred at a Methanomicrobia to Synergistia ratio of 4.6:1.0. The two most numerous genera of methanogens (about 11% total) were Methanosaeta and Methanolinea, indicating that, at the low substrate loading in the digester, the acetoclastic and hydrogenotrophic paths of methane production were equally important. The high abundance of the order Bacteroidetes, including the class Cytophagia (11.6% of all sequences), indicated the high potential of the biomass for efficient degradation of lignocellulitic substances, and for degradation of protein and amino acids to acetate and ammonia. This study sheds light on the ecology of microbial groups that are involved in mesophilic fermentation in mature, stably-performing microbiota in full-scale reactors fed with sewage sludge under low substrate loading.
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Abstract

The factor which essentially affects sludge biodegradation rate is the degree of fluidization of insoluble organic polymers to the solved form, which is a precondition for availability of nutrients for microorganisms. The phases which substantially limit the rate of anaerobic decomposition include hydrolytic and methanogenic phase. Subjecting excess sludge to the process of initial disintegration substantially affects the effectiveness of the process of anaerobic stabilization. As a result of intensification of the process of hydrolysis, which manifests itself in the increase in the value and rate of generating volatile fatty acids (VFA), elongation of methanogenic phase of the process and increase in the degree of fermentation of modified sludge can be observed. Use of initial treatment of sewage sludge i.e. thermal disintegration is aimed at breaking microorganisms' cells and release of intracellular organic matter to the liquid phase. As a result of thermal hydrolysis in the sludge, the volatile fatty acids (VFA) are generated as early as at the stage of the process of conditioning. The obtained value of VFA determines the course of biological hydrolysis which is the first phase of anaerobic stabilization. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of thermal disintegration of excess sludge on the effectiveness of the process of hydrolysis in anaerobic stabilization i.e. the rate of production of volatile fatty acids, changes in the level of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and increase in the degree of reduction in organic matter. During the first stage of the investigations, the most favourable conditions of thermal disintegration of excess sludge were identified using the temperatures of 50°C, 70°C, 90°C and heating times of 1.5 h - 6 h. The sludge was placed in laboratory flasks secured with a glass plug with liquid-column gauge and subjected to thermal treatment in water bath with shaker option. Another stage involved 8-day process of anaerobic stabilization of raw and thermally disintegrated excess sludge. Stabilization was carried out in mesophilic temperature regime i.e. at 37°C, under periodical conditions. In the case of the process of anaerobic stabilization of thermally disintegrated excess sludge at the temperature of 50°C and heating time of 6 h (mixture B) and 70°C and heating time of 4.5% (mixture C), the degree of fermentation of 30.67% and 33.63%, respectively, was obtained. For the studied sludge, i.e. mixture B and mixture C, maximal level of volatile fatty acids i.e. 874.29 mg CH3COOH/dm3 and 1131.43 mg CH3COOH/dm3 was found on the 2nd day of the process. The maximal obtained value of VFA was correlated on this day with maximal COD level, which was 1344 mg O2/dm3 for mixture B and 1778 mg O2/dm3 for mixture C.
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