Impact of Temperature-Dependent Reaction Rates on Methane Yields in Intermittently Fed Mesophilic Sludge Digestion

Efficient anaerobic digestion (AD) of sludge is crucial for the overall energy balance, minimization of carbon footprint, and the economy for most wastewater-treatment plants (WWTPs). In recent years, intermittent feeding (IF) has become increasingly interesting because it has been shown to better condition the digester microbiology for overloading events.

Additionally, IF is required when AD facilities move toward being active players in grid balancing via on-demand delivery and storage of green energy (i.e., power-to-gas). In this study, six laboratory-scale IF digesters were operated at 34, 37, and 40°C in a 300-day experiment to determine the impact of temperature on methane yield and long-term stability at typical conditions for conventional WWTP sludge digestion.

The results show that IF led to no significant differences in methane yield observed among tested temperatures at an organic loading rate of 3  kg VS m −3  days −1 and a hydraulic retention time of 16 days. However, in an on-demand energy-delivery scenario, increased temperature could be interesting because of significantly increased methane production in the first hours following feeding.

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