Anaerobic digestion of food waste to methane at various organic loading rates (OLRs) and hydraulic retention times (HRTs): Thermophilic vs. mesophilic regimes

Kumar, Gopalakrishnan;Sivagurunathan, Periyasamy;Park, Jong-Hun;Kim, Sang-Hyoun

  • Received : 2015.07.14
  • Accepted : 2015.12.23
  • Published : 2016.03.31


Generation of food waste is a serious issue that needs to be addressed worldwide. Developing suitable treatment methods while generating energy (methane) is a common practice for sustainable treatment of waste. In this study, methane generation by food waste was investigated in mesophilic and thermophilic regimes at various hydraulic retention times (HRTs) and organic loading rates (OLR). In temperature regimes, influent concentrations and HRTs ranged from 30 to 110 g COD/L and 18 to 30 days, respectively, which corresponding to an OLR of 1.0 to $6.1kg\;COD/m^3-d$. Better methane production and organic removal was observed under thermophilic conditions because of the enhanced hydrolysis of complex polymers and microbial activity at higher temperature. The peak methane productivities attained in thermophilic and mesophilic regimes were 1.30 and $0.99m^3/m^3-d$, respectively. The maximum methane yields were achieved at 50 g COD/L and HRT of 24 d in both cases, and the values were 264 and $221m^3/ton$ COD, respectively. The results of this study will facilitate the development of sustainable methane production technologies using food waste as a feedstock.


Food waste;Methane;Mesophilic;OLR;Thermophilic


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Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)