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Modeling solid waste decomposition

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-81
Number of pages13
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The hydrolysis rate coefficients of sorted municipal waste were evaluated from the biochemical methane potential tests using non-linear regression. A distributed mathematical model of anaerobic digestion of rich (food) and lean (non-food) solid wastes with greatly different rates of polymer hydrolysis/acidogenesis was developed to describe the balance between the rates of hydrolysis/acidogenesis and methanogenesis. The model was calibrated using previously published experimental data [Biores. Technol. 52 (1995) 245] obtained upon various initial food waste loadings. Simulations of one- and two-stage digestion systems were carried out. The results showed that initial spatial separation of food waste and inoculum enhances methane production and waste degradation in a one-stage solid-bed digester at high waste loading. A negative effect of vigorously mixing at high waste loading reported in some papers was discussed. It was hypothesized that the initiation methanogenic centers developing in time and expanding in space under minimal mixing conditions might be a key factor for efficient anaerobic conversion of solid waste into methane.


  • Distributed mathematical model, Food waste, Hydrolysis kinetics, Initiation methanogenic centers, One- and two-stage anaerobic digestion, Solids biodegradation