Effects of Microwave Pretreatment on Mesophilic Anaerobic Digestion for Mixture of Primary and Secondary Sludges Compared with Thermal Pretreatment

  • Park, Woon-Ji (Department of Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, Kangwon National University) ;
  • Ahn, Johng-Hwa (Department of Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, Kangwon National University)
  • Received : 2010.01.18
  • Accepted : 2011.05.31
  • Published : 2011.06.30


This work experimentally determined the effect of thermal and microwave pretreatments on the anaerobic digestion of mixtures of municipal primary and secondary sludges in semi-continuous mesophilic digesters at hydraulic retention times (HRT) of 20, 15, 10, 7, and 5 days. The ratio of soluble chemical oxygen demand (COD) to total COD in thermally pretreated and microwaved sludges at $80^{\circ}C$ was 2.7 and 3.2 times higher than that of raw sludge, respectively. The volatile solids (VS) and COD removal efficiencies in all three digesters fed with raw (control), thermally pretreated (TM), and microwaved (MW) sludges decreased as the HRT was reduced. The highest relative improvement in VS removal compared to the control occurred at the HRT of 5 days in the TM and MW (29 and 41% higher than the control, respectively). At this HRT, improvement in the COD removal efficiencies in the TM and MW compared to the control was 28 and 53%, respectively. Improvements in biogas production compared with the control increased in both the TM and MW as the HRT was reduced to 5 days. The relative improvement in daily biogas production compared to the control from the TM and MW was 33 and 53% higher than the control at the HRT of 5 days, respectively. The results show that microwave pretreatment is more effective than thermal pretreatment in increasing the solubilization degree and mesophilic anaerobic biodegradability of sewage sludge.


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