Two-stage granular sludge partial nitritation/anammox process for the treatment of digestate from the anaerobic digestion of the organic fraction of municipal solid waste

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Abstract

The increasing amount of source separated organic fraction of municipal solid wastes (OFMSW) treated by anaerobic digestion for energy recovery requires the implementation of cost-efficient processes for the treatment of the produced digestate, especially in terms of nitrogen removal. The autotrophic nitrogen removal process, based on the coupling of two biological processes, partial nitritation (PN) and anammox (A), appears as a suitable solution due to important savings in operational costs compared to conventional treatment processes. However, its application could be hampered by the high salinity and inhibitory potential of this kind of digestate. In this contribution, two lab-scale granular sludge reactors performing the PN and anammox processes, respectively, were used to treat (opportunely diluted) real OFMSW digestate originating from full-scale biogas plants with the aim of assessing their treatment feasibility in a two-stage PN/A configuration. The PN process was implemented in an air-lift granular sludge reactor and was able to treat a nitrogen loading rate of about 1 g N L−1 d−1 at 30 ± 0.5 °C; moreover, its effluent was suitable for the subsequent anammox treatment, with an appropriate effluent NO2−/NH4+ ratio and marginal inhibiting effects. In the anammox granular sludge reactor, the anammox activity was affected by high salinity levels, nonetheless a stable reactor performance at a nitrogen removing rate of 0.83 ± 0.20 and 0.31 ± 0.04 g N L−1 d−1 at 35 ± 0.5 °C, were achieved when treating 50% and 30% diluted real wastewaters at a conductivity in the reactor of 9.1 and 11.2 mS cm−1, respectively.

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Lotti, T., Burzi, O., Scaglione, D., Ramos, C. A., Ficara, E., Pérez, J., & Carrera, J. (2019). Two-stage granular sludge partial nitritation/anammox process for the treatment of digestate from the anaerobic digestion of the organic fraction of municipal solid waste. Waste Management, 100, 36–44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2019.08.044

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