Dry semi-continuous anaerobic digestion of food waste in the mesophilic and thermophilic modes: New aspects of sustainable management and energy recovery in South Korea

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Energy Conversion and Management, 2017, 135 pp. 445 - 452
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© 2016 Elsevier Ltd In this study, parallel, bench-scale, mesophilic and thermophilic, dry, semi-continuous anaerobic digestion (DScAD) of Korea food waste (FW, containing 22% total solids (TS) and 20% volatile solids (VS)) was investigated thoroughly under varying operational conditions, including hydraulic retention times (HRTs) and organic loading rates (OLRs). The aim was to evaluate the start-up, stability, overall removal efficiency, and inhibitory effects of toxic compounds on process performance over a long-term operation lasting 100 days. The results from both digesters indicate that the simultaneous reduction of VS and the production of gas improved as the HRT decreased or the OLR increased. The highest average rates of VS reduction (79.67%) and biogas production (162.14 m3biogas/ton of FW, 61.89% CH4), at an OLR of 8.62 ± 0.34 kg VS/m3day (25 days of HRT), were achieved under thermophilic DScAD. In addition, the average rates of reduction of VS and the production of biogas in thermophilic DScAD were higher by 6.88% and 16.4%, respectively, than were those in mesophilic DScAD. The inhibitory effects of ammonia, H2S, and volatile fatty acids (VFAs) on methane production was not clear from either of the digesters, although, apparently, their concentrations did fluctuate. This fluctuation could be attributed to the self-adaptation of the microbial well. However, digestion that was more stable and faster was observed under thermophilic conditions compared with that under mesophilic conditions. Based on our results, the optimum operational parameters to improve FW treatment and achieve higher energy yields could be determined, expanding the application of DScAD in treating organic wastes.
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