Modification of a conventional anaerobic digester for improving the effluent and sludge characteristics

S. Uludag-Demirer, Goksel Demirer

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The aim of this study was to enrich the composition of anaerobic digester sludge in terms of nitrogen and phosphorus by struvite (MgNH 4 PO 4 ) formation. Waste activated sludge was anaerobically digested in batch reactors under the conditions that the minimum stoichiometric requirement for struvite formation was satisfied in all reactors. For this purpose, different amounts of magnesium (Mg 2+ ) and phosphate (PO 4 3- ) ions were added initially to the batch reactors. The results showed the effects of adding Mg 2+ and PO 4 3- ions on the performance of anaerobic digestion and on the amounts of ammonium (NH 4 + ) and PO 4 3- ions released during digestion. The results indicated that the performance of the anaerobic digestion in chemical oxygen demand removal changed between -4.0\% and 15.4\% for a Mg 2+ concentration range of 277.2 to 529.3 mg/L and a PO 4 3- concentration range of 377.4 to 2372.4 mg/L. There was an increase in the concentration of NH 4 + in all reactors during digestion, but the extent of concentration increase could be controlled by increasing the initial concentrations of Mg 2+ and PO 4 3- . The maximum removal of NH 4 + ions (33.7\%) was observed in the reactor dosed initially by Mg 2+ and PO 4 3- concentrations of 467.2 and 2123.3 mg/L, respectively. The concentration of PO 4 3- ion was lower than its initial concentration in all reactors, indicating considerable fixation of PO 4 3- as it was released, by struvite and other solid species formation. The decrease in the concentration of Mg 2+ ions similar to PO 4 3- was accepted as evidence for the formation of solid species composed of Mg 2+ and PO 4 3 , in addition to struvite.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWater Environment Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2009


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