Relationship between the synergistic/antagonistic effect of anaerobic co-digestion and organic loading
Results from this study reveal a notable relationship between the synergistic/antagonistic performance of sewage sludge - food waste anaerobic co-digestion (AcoD) and organic loading. At the same sewage sludge content, biomethane potential assays show an increasing specific methane yield as the content of food waste increased to the optimum organic loading of 15 kg VS/m3. Under these conditions, the specific methane yields experimentally measured in this study were considerably higher than those calculated by adding the specific methane individual co-substrates during mono-digestion. On the other hand, at above the optimum organic loading value, the antagonistic effect (i.e. lower specific methane yield compared to mono-digestion) was observed. The relationship between synergistic performance of AcoD and organic loading was also evidenced in the removal of volatile solids as well as chemical oxygen demand. Further analysis of the intermediate products show that methanogenesis was the rate limiting step during AcoD at a high organic loading value. As the organic loading increased, the digestion lag phase increased and the hydrolysis rate decreased.