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Co-digestion of cultivated microalgae and sewage sludge from municipal waste water treatment
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Future Energy Center.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0861-6438
JTI, Swedish Inst Agr & Environm Engn, SE-75007 Uppsala, Sweden .
JTI, Swedish Inst Agr & Environm Engn, SE-75007 Uppsala, Sweden .
Swedish Univ Agr Sci, Dept Wildlife Fish & Environm Studies, SE-90183 Umea, Sweden .
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2014 (English)In: Bioresource Technology, ISSN 0960-8524, E-ISSN 1873-2976, Vol. 171, p. 203-210Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study two wet microalgae cultures and one dried microalgae culture were co-digested in different proportions with sewage sludge in mesophilic and thermophilic conditions. The aim was to evaluate if the co-digestion could lead to an increased efficiency of methane production compared to digestion of sewage sludge alone. The results showed that co-digestion with both wet and dried microalgae, in certain proportions, increased the biochemical methane potential (BMP) compared with digestion of sewage sludge alone in mesophilic conditions. The BMP was significantly higher than the calculated BMP in many of the mixtures. This synergetic effect was statistically significant in a mixture containing 63% (w/w VS based) undigested sewage sludge and 37% (w/w VS based) wet algae slurry, which produced 23% more methane than observed with undigested sewage sludge alone. The trend was that thermophilic co-digestion of microalgae and undigested sewage sludge did not give the same synergy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 171, p. 203-210
National Category
Environmental Biotechnology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-26481DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2014.08.069ISI: 000343091700030PubMedID: 25203227Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84908219564OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-26481DiVA, id: diva2:761596
Available from: 2014-11-07 Created: 2014-11-07 Last updated: 2018-10-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Enhanced biogas production from municipal WWTPs: Co-digestion of microalgae with sewage sludge and thermophilic secondary digestion of mesophilic digested sludge
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
2. Co-digestion of microalgae and sewage sludge - A feasibility study for municipal wastewater treatment plants
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

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Olsson, JesperNehrenheim, EmmaThorin, Eva

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