Thermophilic anaerobic co-digestion of sewage sludge with grease waste: effect of long chain fatty acids in the methane yield and its dewatering properties
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Thermophilic co-digestion of sewage sludge with three different doses of trapped grease waste (GW) from the pre-treatment of a WWTP has been assessed in a CSTR bench-scale reactor. After adding 12% and 27% of grease waste (on COD basis), the organic loading rate increased from 2.2 to 2.3 and 2.8 kgCOD
m-3 d-1 respectively, and the methane yield increased 1.2 and 2.2 times. Further GW increase (37% on COD basis) resulted in an unstable methane yield and in long chain fatty acids (LCFA) accumulation. Although this inestability, the presence of volatile fatty acids in the effluent was negligible, showing good adaptation to fats of the thermophilic biomass. Nevertheless, the presence of LCFA in the effluent worsens its dewatering properties. Specific methanogenic activity tests showed that the addition of grease waste ameliorates the acetoclastic activity in detriment of the hydrogenotrophic activity, and suggests that the tolerance to LCFA can be further enhanced by slowly increasing the addition of lipidrich materials.