For improving sludge digestion and biogas recovery, a new anaerobic digestion process combined with ozonation was tested at a full-scale unit for 2 years and its performance was compared with a simultaneously operated conventional anaerobic digestion process. The new process requires two essential modifications, which includes ozonation for enhancing the biological degradability of sludge organics and concentrating of solids in the digester through a solid/liquid separation for extension of SRT. These modifications resulted in high VSS degradation efficiency of ca. 88%, as much as 1.3 times of methane production and more than 70% reduction in dewatered sludge cake production. Owing to accumulation of inorganic solids in the digested sludge, water content of the dewatered sludge cake also reduced from 80% to 68%. An energy analysis suggested that no supplemental fuel was necessary for the subsequent incineration of the cake from the new process scheme. The process is suitable to apply to a low-loaded anaerobic digestion tank, where power production is used.
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