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One- and two-stage anaerobic co-digestion of cucumber waste and sewage sludge.

Authors
  • Lowe, Taylor B1
  • Hatch, Benjamin T2
  • Antle, Chad3
  • Nartker, Steven1
  • Ammerman, Michelle L1
  • 1 Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering and Applied Biology, Kettering University, Flint, MI, USA.
  • 2 Department of Chemistry and Physics, Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, NC, USA.
  • 3 BioWorks Energy LLC, Flint, MI, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Environmental Technology
Publisher
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2020
Volume
41
Issue
24
Pages
3157–3165
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/09593330.2019.1601262
PMID: 30922190
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The demand for uniformly sized and shaped produce that are aesthetically pleasing results in significant food waste throughout the world. Cucumber waste is a major agricultural waste product in a number of countries, especially areas with high pickle production. Opportunity exists for wastewater treatment plants containing anaerobic digesters to utilize cucumber agricultural and industrial waste for biogas production. The biomethane potential of cucumber waste as a substrate for co-digestion with sewage sludge was assessed. The impact of long-term co-digestion of cucumber was then evaluated using mesophilic continuously stirred tank reactors (CSTRs), in both single- and two-stage anaerobic co-digestion with sewage sludge. Ground cucumber waste was added to sewage sludge at 8% of the volume (4.5-4.6% of the organic load) and CSTRs were maintained for five hydraulic retention times (HRTs). One-stage co-digestion of cucumber waste produced comparable gas levels as CSTRs without cucumbers (averaging 219 and 221 m3/kgVS/h, respectively) after two HRTs. The two-stage cucumber co-digestion CSTR averaged 64% higher specific gas than the control and single-stage digester, although the volumetric gas produced was lower (averaging 152 m3/kgVS/h) likely due to gas loss in the first stage resulting in a lower organic load rate. After four HRTs, relative methanogen content showed dramatic differences in levels of hydrogenotrophic methanogens for the two-stage digester, while the one-stage digester containing cucumber waste showed minor differences relative to the control. Cucumber waste co-digestion with sewage sludge is effective although numerous conditions could be utilized to optimize gas production.

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