Enhanced efficiency for better wastewater sludge hydrolysis conversion through ultrasonic hydrolytic pretreatment

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of the Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2017, 71 pp. 244 - 252
Issue Date:
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© 2016 Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers The major requirements for accelerating the process of anaerobic digestion and energy production are breaking the structure of waste activated sludge (WAS), and transforming it into a soluble form suitable for biodegradation. This work investigated and analysed a novel bench-scale ultrasonic system for WAS disruption and hydrolysis using ultrasonic homogenization. Different commercial sonoreactors were used at low frequencies under a variety of operating conditions (intensity, density, power, sonication time, and total suspended solids) to evaluate the effects of the equipment on sludge hydrolysis and to generate new insights into the empirical models and mechanisms applicable to the real-world processing of wastewater sludge. A relationship was established between the operating parameters and the experimental data. Results indicated an increase in sonication time or ultrasonic intensity correlated with improved sludge hydrolysis rates, sludge temperature, and reduction rate of volatile solids (33.51%). It also emerged that ultrasonication could effectively accelerate WAS hydrolysis to achieve disintegration within 5–10 min, depending on the ultrasonic intensity. This study also determined multiple alternative parameters to increase the efficiency of sludge treatment and organic matter reduction, and establish the practicality of applying ultrasonics to wastewater sludge pretreatment.
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