Agnieszka Garlicka, Monika Żubrowska-Sudoł
The main objective of the study was the verification whether conducting the hydrodynamic disintegration (HD) of thickened excess sludge (TES) before the anaerobic hydrolysis (AH) can cause an increase in the efficiency of the hydrolysis process, and therefore a reduction in its duration, or allow for complete omission of the stage before the anaerobic digestion (AD). For this purpose, the HD (conducted in five levels of energy density (EL): 140, 280, 420, 560 and 700 kJ/L) of TES was carried out, and then all sludges (before and after disintegration) were subjected to the AH. The obtained results confirmed that the process of HD can be an effective method of increasing the solubilisation and bioavailability of TES. In the process of HD, the maximum increase in ΔVFA (308–428 mg VFA/L), was reported when EL was increased from 140 to 280 kJ/L (the solubilisation degree increased from approximately 2 to 8%). The obtained results also showed that the ΔSTN and ΔSTP were related to solubilisation degree. The most intensive increase in the ΔSTN was determined for solubilisation degree in a range of 15–20%. In the case of ΔSTP, constant intensity of release of the compounds to the sludge liquid was observed. The obtained results also confirmed that conducting the process of AH of disintegrated TES proved to change the SCOD value when contrasted with the value of this indicator at the start of the experiment (before hydrolysis): (i) the EL equal to 140 and 280 kJ/L allowed for a higher SCOD value; (ii) at EL higher or equal to 560 kJ/L it caused a decrease in the SCOD value.