Operational strategies for thermophilic anaerobic digestion of organic fraction of municipal solid waste in continuously stirred tank reactors

Irini Angelidaki, J. Cui, X. Chen, Prasad Laxmi-Narasimha Kaparaju

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Three operational strategies to reduce inhibition due to ammonia during thermophilic anaerobic digestion of source-sorted organic fraction of municipal solid waste (SS-OFMSW) rich in proteins were investigated. Feed was prepared by diluting SS-OFMSW (ratio of 1:4) with tap water or reactor process water with or without stripping ammonia. Three continuously stirred tank reactors were operated at 55 degrees C with 11.4 gVS d(-1) loading rate and 15 d retention time. Total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) level in the reactor fed with recirculated water alone was spiked to 3.5 and 5.5 g-N l(-1) through ammonium bicarbonate additions. Dilution of SS-OFMSW with fresh water showed a stable performance with volatile fatty acids of < 1g l(-1) and methane yield of 0.40 m(3) kg(-1) volatile solids (VS). Use of recirculated process water after stripping ammonia showed even better performance with a methane yield of 0.43 m(3) kg(-1)VS. Recirculation of process water alone on the other hand, resulted in process inhibition at both TAN levels of 3.5 and 5.5 g-N l(-1). However, after a short period, the process recovered and adapted to the tested TAN levels. Thus, use of recirculated process water after stripping ammonia would not only evade potential inhibition due to ammonia but could avoid the use of fresh water for dilution of high solids protein-rich SS-OFMSW.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Technology
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)855-861
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Ammonia
  • Continuously stirred tank reactors
  • Organic fraction of municipal solid waste
  • Process water
  • Recirculation
  • Thermophilic

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