This study combined at pilot scale the recovery of cellulosic primary sludge from the sieving of municipal wastewater followed by the production of bio-based VFAs through acidogenic fermentation. The sieving of municipal wastewater was accomplished by a rotating belt filter which allowed the removal of around 50% of suspended solids when operated at solids loading rates higher than 30-35 kgTSS/m2 h. The solids recovered by sieving contained around 40% of cellulose, which is a suitable raw material for the production of bio-based VFAs. Initially, fermentation batch tests of cellulosic primary sludge were carried out adjusting the initial pH of the sludge at values of 8, 9, 10 and 11, in order to evaluate the best production yields of bio-based VFAs and their composition. The highest VFAs yield achieved was 521 mgCODVFA/gVS occurring when pH was adjusted at 9, while propionic acid reached 51% of the total VFAs. Then, the optimal conditions were applied at long term in a sequencing batch fermentation reactor where the highest potential productivity of bio-based VFAs (2.57 kg COD/m3 d) was obtained by adjusting the pH feeding at 9 and operating with an hydraulic retention time of 6 days under mesophilic conditions. The cost-benefit analyses for the implementation of cellulosic primary sludge recovery was carried out consideringthe anaerobic digestion as reference scenario. The economical assessment showed that the production of bio-based VFAs from cellulosic primary sludge as carbon source and/or as chemical precursors give higher net benefits instead of the only biogas production.
Sieving of municipal wastewater and recovery of bio-based volatile fatty acids at pilot scale / Da Ros, Cinzia; Conca, Vincenzo; Eusebi, Anna Laura; Frison, Nicola; Fatone, Francesco. - In: WATER RESEARCH. - ISSN 0043-1354. - STAMPA. - 174:(2020), p. 115633. [10.1016/j.watres.2020.115633]