Zhang, Y. and Banks, C.J.
Co-digestion of the mechanically recovered organic fraction of municipal solid waste with slaughterhouse wastes.
Biochemical Engineering Journal, 68, (15), . (doi:10.1016/j.bej.2012.07.017).
The current work aimed to resolve some long-standing questions about the potential benefits and limitations of co-digestion of slaughterhouse wastes. To achieve this, a laboratory-scale trial was carried out using the mechanically recovered organic fraction of municipal solid waste mixed with either sheep blood or a mixture of pig intestines with flotation fat. Both of these co-substrates are difficult to digest in isolation because of their high nitrogen and lipid concentrations, and are regulated as Category 3 materials under the Animal By-Products Regulations (EC 1069/2009). The results showed that at an organic loading rate of 2 kg VS m−3 day−1 with the slaughterhouse material making up 20% of the load on a volatile solids basis the process could operate successfully. As the loading was increased to 4 kg VS m−3 day−1 signs of inhibition appeared with both co-substrates, however, and volumetric methane production was reduced to a point where co-digestion gave no process advantage. The main operational problem encountered was an increase in the concentration of volatile fatty acids in the digestate, particularly propionic acid: this was thought to be a result of ammonia toxicity. The concentration of potentially toxic elements in the digestate made it unsuitable for agricultural application for food production, although the increased nitrogen content made it more valuable as a fertiliser for non-food crop use.
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