High solids co-digestion of food and landscape waste and the potential for ammonia toxicity

Publication Date

Spring 4-22-2014


A pilot-scale study was completed to determine the feasibility of high-solids anaerobic digestion (HSAD) of a mixture of food and landscape wastes at a university in central Pennsylvania (USA). HSAD was stable at low loadings (2 g COD/L-day), but developed inhibitory ammonia concentrations at high loadings (15 g COD/L-day). At low loadings, methane yields were 232 L CH4/kg COD fed and 229 L CH4/kg VS fed, and at high loadings yields were 211 L CH4/kg COD fed and 272 L CH4/kg VS fed. Based on characterization and biodegradability studies, food waste appears to be a good candidate for HSAD at low organic loading rates; however, the development of ammonia inhibition at high loading rates suggests that the C:N ratio is too low for use as a single substrate. The relatively low biodegradability of landscape waste as reported herein made it an unsuitable substrate to increase the C:N ratio. Codigestion of food waste with a substrate high in bioavailable carbon is recommended to increase the C:N ratio sufficiently to allow HSAD at loading rates of 15 g COD/L-day.


Waste Management



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Civil and Environmental Engineering


http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2014.03.019 0956-053X/

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