Two temperature-phased anaerobic digestion (TPAD) systems (55 °C in the first reactor and 35 °C in the second reactor) with and without recirculation were operated in parallel for the co-digestion of food waste and paper waste. A long-term experiment was carried out for these two systems with the paper waste ratios elevated from 0 to 50%. The removal efficiencies of COD, TS, VS, carbohydrate and protein in the recirculated TPAD system were higher than those of the non-recirculated system. The successful acclimation of thermophilic cellulose-degrading bacteria in the first reactor (RT1), partly due to recirculation, ensured the effective degradation of cellulose when the paper waste ratio was higher than 40%, resulting in the production of large amounts of hydrogen in reactor RT1. In the absence of recirculation, the main substance produced in the first reactor of the non-recirculated system (T1) was lactic acid. This gradually led to over-acidification and a low degradation efficiency and no methane or hydrogen was produced in T1. Recirculation helped to establish a stable bacterial community capable of producing bio-hydrogen in reactor RT1. The relatively low pH of 5.5 in the RT1 inhibited the activity of hydrogenotrophic archaea without consuming hydrogen, facilitating high hydrogen production levels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal