Processing of the produced primary and secondary sludge during sewage treatment is demanding and requires considerable resources. Most common practices suggest the cotreatment of primary and secondary sludge starting with thickening and anaerobic digestion. The aim of this study is to investigate the anaerobic digestion of the primary sludge only and estimate its impact on sludge treatment and energy recovery. Within this context, the performance of the anaerobic digestion of primary sludge is explored and focused on practices to further enhance the methane production by using additives, e.g., a cationic polyelectrolyte and attapulgite. The results showed that the overall yield in methane production during anaerobic digestion of primary sludge alone was higher than that obtained by the anaerobic digestion of mixed primary and secondary sludge (up to 40%), while the addition of both organic polyelectrolyte and attapulgite enhanced further the production of methane (up to 170%). Attapulgite increased the hydrolysis rate of biosolids and produced relatively stabilized digestate, though of lower dewaterability. Moreover, the results suggest that single digestion of primary sludge may accomplish higher methane production capacities at lower digestors’ volume increasing their overall efficiency and productivity, while the produced digestates are of adequate quality for further utilization mainly in agricultural or energy sectors.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited