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Mesophilic anaerobic digestion of pulp and paper industry biosludge-long-term reactor performance and effects of thermal pretreatment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Article number11500
Pages (from-to)105-111
Number of pages7
JournalWater Research
Early online date5 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2015
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The pulp and paper industry wastewater treatment processes produce large volumes of biosludge. Limited anaerobic degradation of lignocellulose has hindered the utilization of biosludge, but the processing of biosludge using anaerobic digestion has recently regained interest. In this study, biosludge was used as a sole substrate in long-term (400 d) mesophilic laboratory reactor trials. Nine biosludge batches collected evenly over a period of one year from a pulp and paper industry wastewater treatment plant had different solid and nutrient (nitrogen, phosphorus, trace elements) characteristics. Nutrient characteristics may vary by a factor of 2-11, while biomethane potentials (BMPs) ranged from 89 to 102 NL CH<inf>4</inf> kg<sup>-1</sup> VS between batches. The BMPs were enhanced by 39-88% with thermal pretreatments at 105-134 °C. Despite varying biosludge properties, stable operation was achieved in reactor trials with a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 14 d. Hydrolysis was the process limiting step, ceasing gas production when the HRT was shortened to 10 days. However, digestion with an HRT of 10 days was feasible after thermal pretreatment of the biosludge (20 min at 121 °C) due to enhanced hydrolysis. The methane yield was 78 NL CH<inf>4</inf> kg<sup>-1</sup> VS for untreated biosludge and was increased by 77% (138 NL CH<inf>4</inf> kg<sup>-1</sup> VS) after pretreatment.


  • Biogas, Hydrothermal pretreatment, Lignin, Methane production, Secondary sludge, Waste activated sludge

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland