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Thermophilic sludge digestion improves energy balance and nutrient recovery potential in full-scale municipal wastewater treatment plants

Thermophilic sludge digestion improves energy balance and nutrient recovery potential in full-scale municipal wastewater treatment plants

Bioresource Technology 218: 1237-1245

The conventional treatment of municipal wastewater by means of activated sludge is typically energy demanding. Here, the potential benefits of: (1) the optimization of mesophilic digestion; and (2) transitioning to thermophilic sludge digestion in three wastewater treatment plants (Tilburg-Noord, Land van Cuijk and Bath) in the Netherlands is evaluated, including a full-scale trial validation in Bath. In Tilburg-Noord, thermophilic sludge digestion covered the energy requirements of the plant (102%), whereas 111% of sludge operational treatment costs could be covered in Bath. Thermophilic sludge digestion also resulted in a strong increase in nutrient release. The potential for nutrient recovery was evaluated via: (1) stripping/absorption of ammonium; (2) autotrophic removal of ammonium via partial nitritation/anammox; and (3) struvite precipitation. This research shows that optimization of sludge digestion may lead to a strong increase in energy recovery, sludge treatment costs reduction, and the potential for advanced nutrient management in full-scale sewage treatment plants.

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Accession: 059124816

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PMID: 27423372

DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2016.06.119

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