The appraisal of mesophilic anaerobic digestion and thermophilic aerobic digestion in the treatment of municipal sludge in Ireland
It has been well documented that the optimum feedstock for anaerobic digesters consists of readily biodegradable compounds, as found in primary sludge or even a mixed substrate of primary and excess activated sludge. Due to the requirements of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Plant Directive of 1991, the quantities of secondary sludge generated is set to increase substantially. A pilot scale study was undertaken to evaluate the performance of both Mesophilic Anaerobic Digestion and Thermophilic Aerobic digestion in the treatment of secondary sludge. The results indicated that the anaerobic pilot scale digester achieved a greater solids destruction than the aerobic pilot plant averaging at 28% T.S. removal verses 20% for the aerobic digester, despite the fact that secondary sludge is the optimum feedstock for aerobic digestion. This can, however, be attributed to the greater biomass yield experienced with aerobic systems, and to the absence of Autothermal conditions. At present, the traditional technique of Mesophilic Anaerobic Digestion is in widespread application throughout Ireland, for the stabilisation of sewage sludge. There is only one Autothermal Thermophilic Aerobic Digester at present situated in Killarney, Co. Kerry. A further objectives of the study was to compare full-scale applications of Mesophilic Anaerobic Digestion to ATAD. Two Sludge Treatment plants, situated in Co. Kerry, were used for this purpose, and were assessed mainly under the following headings; process stability, solids reduction on average, the ATAD plant in Killarney has the advantage of producing a “Class A” Biosolid in terms of pathogen reduction, and can effectively treat double the quantity of sludge. In addition, economically the ATAD plant is cheaper to run, costing €190 / t.d.s verses €211 / t.d.s. for the anaerobic digester in Tralee. An overview of additional operational Anaerobic Digestion Plants throughout Ireland is also presented.
- Theses - Science ITS 
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