Insights on the solubilization products after combined alkaline and ultrasonic pre-treatment of sewage sludge

Xinbo Tian , Chong Wang , Antoine Prandota Trzcinski , Leonard Lin , Wun Jern Ng


Received April 07, 2014,Revised July 15, 2014, Accepted , Available online March 13, 2015

Volume 27,2015,Pages 97-105

This work provides insights on the solubilization products after a simultaneous combination of alkaline and ultrasonic (ALK + ULS) pre-treatment of sewage sludge. Soluble chemical oxygen demand (SCOD) increased from 1200 to 11,000 mg/L after such treatment. Organics with molecular weight around 5.6 kDa were solubilized because of the synergistic effect of ultrasound and alkali. Organics with molecular weight larger than 300 kDa increased from 7.8% to 60%, 16% and 42.3% after ULS, ALK and ALK + ULS treatment, respectively. Excitation emission matrix fluorescence spectroscopy analysis identified soluble microbial product-like and humic acid-like matters as the main solubilization products. Sludge anaerobic biodegradability was significantly enhanced with the simultaneous application of ALK + ULS pre-treatment. ALK + ULS pre-treatment resulted in 37.8% biodegradability increase compared to the untreated sludge. This value was higher compared to the biodegradability increase induced by individual ALK pre-treatment (5.7%) or individual ULS pre-treatment (20.7%) under the same conditions applied.

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