DOI: 10.3390/bioengineering11010006 ISSN: 2306-5354

Assessment of the Feasibility of Converting the Liquid Fraction Separated from Fruit and Vegetable Waste in a UASB Digester

Fabrice Tanguay-Rioux, Laurent Spreutels, Caroline Roy, Jean-Claude Frigon
  • Bioengineering

Anaerobic digestion of food waste still faces important challenges despite its world-wide application. An important fraction of food waste is composed of organic material having a low hydrolysis rate and which is often not degraded in digesters. The addition of this less hydrolysable fraction into anaerobic digesters requires a longer hydraulic residence time, and therefore leads to oversizing of the digesters. To overcome this problem, the conversion of the highly biodegradable liquid fraction from fruit and vegetable waste in a up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) digester is proposed and demonstrated. The more easily biodegradable fraction of the waste is concentrated in the liquid phase using a 2-stage screw press separation. Then, this liquid fraction is digested in a 3.5 L UASB digester at a high organic loading rate. A good and stable performance was observed up to an organic loading rate (OLR) of 12 g COD/(Lrx.d), with a specific methane production of 2.6 L CH4/(Lrx.d) and a degradation of 85% of the initial total COD. Compared to the conversion of the same initial waste with a continuously stirred tank reactor (CSTR), this new treatment strategy leads to 10% lower COD degradation, but can produce the same amount of methane with a digester that is twice as small. The scale-up of this process could contribute to reduced costs related to the anaerobic digestion of food waste, while reducing management efforts associated with digestate handling and increasing process stability at high organic loading rates.

More from our Archive