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Olsson, J., Forkman, T., Gentili, F., Zambrano, J., Schwede, S., Nehrenheim, E. & Thorin, E. (2018). Anaerobic co-digestion of sludge and microalgae grown inmunicipal wastewater: A feasibility study. Water Science and Technology, 77(3), 682-694
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Anaerobic co-digestion of sludge and microalgae grown inmunicipal wastewater: A feasibility study
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2018 (English)In: Water Science and Technology, ISSN 0273-1223, E-ISSN 1996-9732, Vol. 77, no 3, p. 682-694Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study a natural mix of microalgae grown in wastewater of municipal character was co-digested with sewage sludge in mesophilic conditions, in both batch and semi-continuous modes. The semicontinuous experiment was divided into two periods with OLR 1 (Organic Loading Rate) of 2.4 kg VS m3 d-1 and HRT1 (Hydraulic Retention Time) of 15 days, and OLR2 of 3.5 kg VS m3 d-1 and HRT2 of 10 days respectively. Results showed stable conditions during both periods. The methane yield was reduced when adding microalgae (from 200 ± 25 NmL CH4 g VSin-1 , to 168±22 NmL CH4 g VSin-1). VS reduction was also decreased by 51%. This low digestability was confirmed in the anaerobic batch test. However, adding microalgae improved the dewaterability of the digested sludge. The high heavy metals content in the microalgae resulted in a high heavy metals content in the digestate, making it more difficult to reuse the digestate as fertilizer on arable land. The heavy metals are thought to originate from the flue gas used as a CO2 source during the microalgae cultivation. Therefore the implementation of CO2 mitigation via algal cultivation requires careful consideration regarding thesource of the CO2-rich gas.

Keywords
Biogas, dewaterability, Gompertz model, mesophilic, semi-continuous study, waste activated sludge
National Category
Renewable Bioenergy Research Water Engineering
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-37381 (URN)10.2166/wst.2017.583 (DOI)000424765000013 ()29431713 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85042218057 (Scopus ID)
Projects
MAASICA-projektet
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2017-12-04 Created: 2017-12-04 Last updated: 2019-06-18Bibliographically approved
Olsson, J. (2018). Co-digestion of microalgae and sewage sludge - A feasibility study for municipal wastewater treatment plants. (Doctoral dissertation). Västerås: Mälardalen University
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Co-digestion of microalgae and sewage sludge - A feasibility study for municipal wastewater treatment plants
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The increased emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases over the last 100 years is the reason for the acceleration in the greenhouse effect, which has led to an increase of the globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature of 0.85 °C between 1880 and 2012. A small fraction of the increased anthropogenic greenhouse gases originates from municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs).

This doctoral thesis was part of a larger investigation of using an alternative biological treatment based on the symbiosis of microalgae and bacteria (MAAS-process (microalgae and activated sludge)). This solution could be more energy efficient and potentially consume carbon dioxide from fossil combustion processes and also directly capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and thereby reduce the addition of anthropogenic greenhouse gases to the air.

 The objective of the thesis was to explore the effects when the microalgae-derived biomass from the biological treatment were co-digested with sewage sludge. The results from these experimental studies were then used to evaluate the effects on a system level when implementing microalgae in municipal WWTP.

 Microalgae grown from a synthetic medium improved the methane yield with up to 23% in mesophilic conditions when part of the sewage sludge was replaced by the microalgae. The microalgae grown from municipal wastewater showed no synergetic effect.

 In the semi-continuous experiments the methane yield was slightly reduced when implementing the microalgae. Furthermore the digestibility of the co-digestion between sewage sludge and microalgae were lower compared to the digestion of sewage sludge.

 The digestates containing microalgal substrate had higher heavy metals content than digestates containing only sewage sludge. This could have a negative effect on the potential to use this digestate on arable land in future, due to strict limits from the authorities.  Filterability measurements indicated that the addition of microalgae enhanced the dewaterability of the digested sludge and lowered the demand for polyelectrolyte significantly.

 When a hypothetical MAAS-process replaced a conventional ASP-process the amount of feedstock of biomass increased significantly due to the increased production from the autotrophic microalgae. This increased the biogas production by 66-210% and reduced the heavy metal concentration in the digestate due to a dilution effect from the increased biomass production.

 The thesis demonstrates that microalgae in combination with bacteria from a MAAS-process can be a realistic alternative feedstock to WAS in the anaerobic digestion at a municipal WWTP. A few drawbacks need to be considered when choosing a MAAS-process as biological treatment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2018. p. 96
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 262
Keywords
Microalgae, Anaerobic digestion, dewaterability, BMP-experiments
National Category
Water Treatment
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-39154 (URN)978-91-7485-386-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-06-18, Paros, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2018-05-07 Created: 2018-05-07 Last updated: 2018-06-04Bibliographically approved
Thorin, E., Olsson, J., Schwede, S. & Nehrenheim, E. (2018). Co-digestion of sewage sludge and microalgae: Biogas production investigations. Applied Energy, 227, 64-72
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Co-digestion of sewage sludge and microalgae: Biogas production investigations
2018 (English)In: Applied Energy, ISSN 0306-2619, E-ISSN 1872-9118, Vol. 227, p. 64-72Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), algae could be utilised for cleaning the water and, at thesame time, produce a biomass that can be used for energy. Through anaerobic digestion, microalgae can contributeto biogas production when co-digested with sewage sludge. In this paper, previous published results onthe co-digestion of sewage sludge and microalgae are summarised and reviewed, and any remaining knowledgegaps are identified. The batch tests currently documented in literature mostly concern digestion under mesophilicconditions, and studies investigating thermophilic conditions are less common. The average biochemicalmethane potential (BMP) for 29 different mixtures co-digested under mesophilic conditions is 317 ± 101 N cm3CH4 gVS−1 while the result for 12 different mixtures investigated under thermophilic conditions is a BMP of318 ± 60 N cm3 CH4 gVS−1. An evaluation of the heat required for increasing the temperature from mesophilicto thermophilic conditions shows that increased methane production under thermophilic conditions can beenough to create a positive energy balance. For a full-scale WWTP, using thermophilic digestion on sludge, or acombination of sludge and microalgae could therefore be of interest. This is dependent on the demands onsanitation of the sludge and the possibilities for heat recovery.Most of the mesophilic investigations indicate a synergetic effect for co-digestion, with enhancements of up toalmost 70%. However, the results are uncertain since the standard deviations for some of the BMP tests are in thesame order of magnitude as the identified enhancement. Neither of the presented publications provide an understandingof the basic mechanisms that led to higher or lower BMP when microalgae were mixed with wastewatersludge. We, therefore, call for care to be taken when assuming any effects related to the specification ofsubstrates. Microalgae and wastewater sludge have several similarities, and the specific results of BMP in themixtures relate more to the specifics of the respective materials than the materials themselves.Investigations into semi-continuous processes of co-digestion of microalgae and sludge are scarce. The yieldsfor three co-digestion studies show high variation, with an average of 293 ± 112 N cm3 gVSin−1. The availableresults show strong potential for co-digestion of sewage sludge and microalgae. Further investigations are requiredto identify optimal conditions for biogas production, and analysis of microalgae implementation onwastewater treatment at a system level is also needed to identify the total mass balance of substrate and nutrientrecovery.

Keywords
Biomass Wastewater treatment Batch Continuous BMP Anaerobic digestion
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-37578 (URN)10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.08.085 (DOI)000445987200007 ()2-s2.0-85028066228 (Scopus ID)
Projects
MAASICA
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2017-12-27 Created: 2017-12-27 Last updated: 2018-12-18Bibliographically approved
Olsson, J., Schwede, S., Nehrenheim, E. & Thorin, E. (2018). Microalgae as biological treatment for municipal wastewater - Effects on the sludge handling in a treatment plant. Water Science and Technology, 78(3), 644-654
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Microalgae as biological treatment for municipal wastewater - Effects on the sludge handling in a treatment plant
2018 (English)In: Water Science and Technology, ISSN 0273-1223, E-ISSN 1996-9732, ISSN 0273-1223, Vol. 78, no 3, p. 644-654Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A mix of microalgae and bacteria was cultivated on pre-sedimented municipal wastewater in a continuous operated microalgae-activated sludge process. The excess material from the process was co-digested with primary sludge in mesophilic and thermophilic conditions in semi-continuous mode (5 L digesters). Two reference digesters (5 L digesters) fed with waste-activated sludge (WAS) and primary sludge were operated in parallel. The methane yield was slightly reduced (≈10%) when the microalgal-bacterial substrate was used in place of the WAS in thermophilic conditions, but remained approximately similar in mesophilic conditions. The uptake of heavy metals was higher with the microalgal-bacterial substrate in comparison to the WAS, which resulted in higher levels of heavy metals in the digestates. The addition of microalgal-bacterial substrate enhanced the dewaterability in thermophilic conditions. Finally, excess heat can be recovered in both mesophilic and thermophilic conditions. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IWA Publishing, 2018
Keywords
Dewaterability, Heat balance, Heavy metals, Microalgae, Semi-continuous study, Waste activated sludge, Algae, Anaerobic digestion, Biological water treatment, Microorganisms, Wastewater treatment, Micro-algae, Semi-continuous, Waste activated sludges, Activated sludge process, Bacteria (microorganisms)
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-41017 (URN)10.2166/wst.2018.334 (DOI)000445518100018 ()30208005 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85053616456 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-09-27 Created: 2018-09-27 Last updated: 2019-06-18Bibliographically approved
Thorin, E., Olsson, J., Schwede, S. & Nehrenheim, E. (2017). Biogas from Co-digestion of Sewage Sludge and Microalgae. In: Energy Procedia: . Paper presented at The 8th International Conference on Applied Energy – ICAE2016 (pp. 1037-1042). , 105
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Biogas from Co-digestion of Sewage Sludge and Microalgae
2017 (English)In: Energy Procedia, 2017, Vol. 105, p. 1037-1042Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Microalgae cultivated in waste water could contribute to increased biomass production at municipal waste watertreatment plants. The biomass could be utilized for biogas production when co-digested with sewage sludge. In thispaper previous published results on co-digestion of sewage sludge and microalgae are summarized and remainingknowledge gaps are identified. The available batch tests in literature mostly concern digestion at mesophilicconditions. Some of those tests indicate a synergetic effect for the co-digestion. Investigations at thermophilicconditions and of semi-continuous processes are scarce. The available results show good possibilities for co-digestionof sewage sludge and microalgae. Further investigations are needed to find optimal conditions for biogas production.

Keywords
biomass; waste water treatement; batch; continous; BMP; anaerobic digestion
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-37579 (URN)10.1016/j.egypro.2017.03.449 (DOI)000404967901020 ()2-s2.0-85020740140 (Scopus ID)
Conference
The 8th International Conference on Applied Energy – ICAE2016
Projects
MAASICA
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2017-12-27 Created: 2017-12-27 Last updated: 2018-07-25Bibliographically approved
Olsson, J., Schwede, S., Nehrenheim, E. & Thorin, E. (2017). Co-digestion of microalgae, grown on municipal wastewater, and primary sewage sludge–: Pilot study in thermophilic and mesophilic conditions. In: : . Paper presented at The 15th World Conference on Anaerobic Digestion, Beijing, China, October 17-20, 2017.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Co-digestion of microalgae, grown on municipal wastewater, and primary sewage sludge–: Pilot study in thermophilic and mesophilic conditions
2017 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The most common biological treatment in a municipal waste water today is the activated sludge process (ASP). A possible substitution of the ASP could be the utilization of microalgae for the reduction and/or transformation of nutrients. The produced algal biomass can be converted to biofuel by anaerobic digestion. In the present study, co-digestion of primary sludge and microalgae are studied in semi-continuous tests at mesophilic and thermophilic conditions. Two reactors fed by waste activated sludge and primary sludge are used as reference. The results show that thermophilic digestion of microalgae and primary sludge is less attractive since the methane yield is approximately the same as the mesophilic digestion. In mesophilic conditions the results are approximately the same in the two pilot reactors and also comparable with the mesophilic full-scale digesters in Västerås, Sweden.

Keywords
Anaerobic digestion, waste activated sludge, biogas, continuous, microalgae based activated sludge process
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-37587 (URN)
Conference
The 15th World Conference on Anaerobic Digestion, Beijing, China, October 17-20, 2017
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2017-12-27 Created: 2017-12-27 Last updated: 2018-03-07Bibliographically approved
Olsson, J., Thorin, E., Nehrenheim, E., Juszkiewicz, A. & Schwede, S. (2016). COMPARATIVE STUDY – PHARMACEUTICAL RESIDUES IN WASTEWATER AND SLUDGE FROM A MICORALGAE PLANT AND AN ACTIVATED SLUDGE PROCESS. In: : . Paper presented at 5th International Conference on Industrial & Hazardous Waste Manangement, 27-30 September, 2016, Crete, Greece.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>COMPARATIVE STUDY – PHARMACEUTICAL RESIDUES IN WASTEWATER AND SLUDGE FROM A MICORALGAE PLANT AND AN ACTIVATED SLUDGE PROCESS
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2016 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This study explores the possibility of using a microalgae based activated sludge – process (MAAS-process) to increase the reduction of pharmaceutical residues in outgoing wastewater, compared to a conventional wastewater treatment plant with activated sludge process. In an on-site study, residual sludge from four pilot scale digesters fed with primary sludge and waste activated sludge or microalgae were sampled and analysed for pharmaceutical residues. The aim of the study was to compare the reduction efficiencies of a microalgae based process with a conventional biological treatment and also to explore the reduction of the residues in the different process steps including the sewage sludge thickening before the anaerobic digestion, the digestion and the secondary treatment with the sludge dewatering process. The results show that the total reduction of pharmaceutical residues in the water phase appears to be significantly higher in the MAAS-process. The substance diclofenac was not degraded in any of the biological processes in the study. The reduction of pharmaceutical residues in digested sludge seems to be higher in mesophilic conditions compared with thermophilic conditions.

Keywords
Microalgae plant, municipal wastewater, anaerobic digestion, pharmaceutical residues
National Category
Engineering and Technology Environmental Engineering
Research subject
Biotechnology/Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-34259 (URN)
Conference
5th International Conference on Industrial & Hazardous Waste Manangement, 27-30 September, 2016, Crete, Greece
Available from: 2016-12-16 Created: 2016-12-16 Last updated: 2018-05-08Bibliographically approved
Olsson, J., Thorin, E. & Nehrenheim, E. (2016). TRANSITION OF MESOPHILIC TO THERMOPHILIC DIGESTION OF SEWAGE SLUDGE. In: TRANSITION OF MESOPHILIC TO THERMOPHILIC DIGESTION OF SEWAGE SLUDGE: . Paper presented at 6th International Symposium on Energy from Biowaste and Waste - Venice 14-17 November, 2016.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>TRANSITION OF MESOPHILIC TO THERMOPHILIC DIGESTION OF SEWAGE SLUDGE
2016 (English)In: TRANSITION OF MESOPHILIC TO THERMOPHILIC DIGESTION OF SEWAGE SLUDGE, 2016Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this comparative study two types of temperature transition strategies from mesophilic to thermophilic conditions in anaerobic digestion was explored. Both strategies used a rapid increase from 37 to 55°C with a constant organic loading rate (2.4 kg VS m-3 d-1) and hydraulic retention time (14 d). The two digesters used the same mesophilic inoculoum but in the second digester a small share of thermophilic digeastate was also inoculated. A comparative dewaterability study between the fullscale mesophilic digestate and the thermophilic digestates were also performed as part of the study. The results showed a stabilization in both digesters within 14 days (1 Hydraulic retention time). The digester where a small share of thermophilic inoculum was introduced had a higher methane production compared to the control reactor where just mesophilic inoculum was used. The comparative dewaterability study showed a deterioration of the dewaterability in both digesters when thermophilic conditions was established.

Keywords
Anaerobic digestion, Mesophilic conditions, Thermophilic conditions, Temperature transition, Methane production.
National Category
Engineering and Technology Energy Engineering
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-34261 (URN)
Conference
6th International Symposium on Energy from Biowaste and Waste - Venice 14-17 November, 2016
Available from: 2016-12-16 Created: 2016-12-16 Last updated: 2018-03-07Bibliographically approved
Olsson, J. (2015). Enhanced biogas production from municipal WWTPs: Co-digestion of microalgae with sewage sludge and thermophilic secondary digestion of mesophilic digested sludge. (Licentiate dissertation). Västerås: Mälardalen University
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Enhanced biogas production from municipal WWTPs: Co-digestion of microalgae with sewage sludge and thermophilic secondary digestion of mesophilic digested sludge
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Biogas is produced when organic material is broken down in oxygen-free (anaerobic) conditions. This process is called anaerobic digestion and is used in most large and medium-sized municipal wastewater treatment plants in Sweden. In the wastewater treatment sewage sludge is obtained, from the mecanical-, biological and chemical treatment step, which contains decomposable organic material. The sludge is pumped into a digester, which is an airtight container. In the digester raw biogas, consisting of methane and carbon dioxide, is produced. The material that comes out of the digester is a nutrient rich residue (digestate) which can be used as a fertilizer or soil conditioner. The purpose of this study was to explore ways to increase the biogas production that takes place at the municipal wastewater treatment plants by either co-digestion of sewage sludge with microalgae from a possible future biological purification steps or to use two digestion stages in series with different operating temperatures, mesophilic (37ºC) followed by a thermophilic digestion (55ºC). The challenges with these methods, which are also taken into consideration in the studies, were changes in the dewaterability of the digestate, system efficiency regarding electricity and heat consumption, the ability to recycle nutrients, changes in the carbon footprint from the treatment plant, change of the pollution level in the digestate and the ability to create a sanitization method for the digestate.

The results from the first part showed in both batch digestability tests and continuous anaerobic digestion experiment that microalgae cultivated on wastewater can be a feasible feedstock for anaerobic co-digestion with sewage sludge. Microalgae improved the biogas production in mesophilic conditions but not in thermophilic digestion. In the semi-continous experiment, with the addition of a natural mix of microalgae grown from wastewater to sewage sludge, the specific methane production was enhanced with 39 % for every gram organic matter reduced. The specific methane production for every gram added organic matter to the reactors were 9% lower in the digester where microalgae had been added. When microalgae were added the total digestibility was reduced compared to the reference digestion with only sewage sludge. Filterability tests indicated that the addition of microalgae enhanced the dewaterability of the digested sludge. Heavy metal levels in the microalgae substrate were much higher than in the sludge which could restrict the utilization of the digestate on arable land in a possible future full scale application.

The results in the second part showed that the process solution could be a self-sufficient sanitation method. The highest organic loading rates tested in this study were in the range causing an unstable process due to high ammonia levels The thermophilic digestion gave the sludge worse dewaterability. However, a subsequent aeration step could improve the properties again.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2015. p. 56
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 202
National Category
Engineering and Technology Energy Engineering
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-27911 (URN)978-91-7485-210-3 (ISBN)
Presentation
2015-06-11, Delta, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-04-27 Created: 2015-04-27 Last updated: 2015-05-12Bibliographically approved
Nordin, A. C., Olsson, J. & Vinnerås, B. (2015). Urea for sanitization of anaerobically digested dewatered sewage sludge. Environmental Engineering Science, 32(2), 86-94
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Urea for sanitization of anaerobically digested dewatered sewage sludge
2015 (English)In: Environmental Engineering Science, ISSN 1092-8758, E-ISSN 1557-9018, Vol. 32, no 2, p. 86-94Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

When recycling sewage sludge to agriculture, the risk of disease transmission must be taken into account. Sanitizing treatment prevents disease transmission by reducing dissemination of pathogens early in the reuse chain. Sanitization is commonly achieved by heat treatment of sludge, for example, by prepasteurization before anaerobic digestion or by thermophilic anaerobic digestion. This study evaluated ammonia treatment of anaerobically digested dewatered sewage sludge at pilot scale (65 ton) by urea addition at 0.85% and 1.6% wet weight compared with storage without ammonia addition over 145 days of treatment during the Swedish winter, with ambient temperatures below 0 C. Addition of 1.6% urea reduced indicator organisms Enterococcus spp. and Escherichia coli to below the detection limit of 100 and 10cfu/g, respectively, within 3 months of treatment, whereas the 0.85% urea treatment did inactivate E. coli but not Enterococcus spp. within the study period (145 days). In the control, both indicator bacteria were still present at the end of the study period. Thus, 1.6% treatment with urea is a promising low cost on-demand option for sludge sanitization and can be performed at considerably lower cost than heat treatment.

Keywords
biosolids, indicator organism, pathogen, sanitization, sewage sludge, treatment, urea
National Category
Environmental Biotechnology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-27609 (URN)10.1089/ees.2013.0230 (DOI)000349322300002 ()2-s2.0-84923082406 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2015-02-26 Created: 2015-02-26 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-0861-6438

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