Mini-review of inventory data for the dewatering and drying of sewage sludge

Huimin Chang, Yan Zhao*, Ankun Xu, Anders Damgaard, Thomas H Christensen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Technological comparison and system modelling of sewage sludge treatment are important in terms of sustainable development and climate change mitigation. Dewatering and drying are important processes for reducing volume for transportation and often a requirement for further sludge treatment. Inventory data on mass transfers and material and energy consumptions are therefore crucial in improving and understanding sludge management systems. Reviewing the scientific literature (2003–2021) revealed 55 and 21 datasets on dewatering and drying of sewage sludge, respectively. The scarcity of data did not allow for identifying detailed relationships between inputs and outputs for the technologies, but the reviewed data can serve as the first port of call when planning sludge management. The average total solid (TS) content obtained was statistically different for mechanical dewatering (MDW), deep dewatering, bio-drying (BDR) and thermal drying (TDR). Loss of volatile solids (VS) during dewatering is barely described, but a substantial VS loss was observed for TDR (8%) and BDR (27%). The use of chemical agents in MDW showed typical values of 5–15 g kg−1 TS. The use of energy is low for MDW (average of 0.12 and 0.26 kWh kg−1 TS for raw and digested sludges, respectively) but substantially higher for TDR (average of 3.8 kWh kg−1 TS). The justified inventory data for sludge dewatering and drying provide essential support to system modelling and technological comparison in future studies, but additional data from full-scale plants on energy consumption and the composition of removed water are strongly requested to improve the inventory.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWaste Management & Research
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1081-1088
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Sewage sludge
  • Dewatering
  • Deep dewatering
  • Drying
  • Bio-drying
  • Inventory data


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