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Thermophilic anaerobic digestion of industrial orange waste

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-633
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Thermophilic anaerobic digestion of industrial orange waste (pulp and peel) with subsequent aerobic post-treatment of the digestate was evaluated. Methane production potential was first determined in batch assays and the effects of operational parameters such as hydraulic retention times (HRT) and organic loading rates (OLR) on process performance were studied through semi-continuous digestion. In batch assays, methane production potential of about 0.49 m3 kg-1 volatile solids (VS)added waste was achieved. In semi-continuous digestion, loading at 2.8 kg VS m-3 d-1 (2.9 kg total solids (TS) m-3 d-1) and HRT of 26 d produced specific methane yields of 0.6 m3 kg-1 VSadded waste (0.63 m3 kg-1 TSadded waste). Operating at a higher OLR of 4.2 kgVS m-3 d-1 (4.4 kg TS m-3d-1) and 40 d HRT produced 0.5 m3 of methane kg-1 VSadded waste (0.63-0.52 m3 kg-1 TS added waste). Up to 70% of TS of industrial orange waste (11.6% TS) was methanised. Further increase in OLR to 5.6 kgVS m-3 d-1 (5.9 kgTS m-3 d-1; HRT of 20 d) resulted in an unstable and non-functional digester process shown directly through complete cessation of methanogenesis, drop in methane content, reduced pH and increase in volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentrations, especially acetate and soluble chemical oxygen demand. A pH adjustment (from an initial 3.2 to ca. 8) for the low pH orange waste was necessary and was found to be a crucial factor for stable digester operation as the process showed a tendency to be inhibited due to accumulation of VFAs and decrease in digester pH. Aerobic post-treatment of digestate resulted in removal of ammonia and VFAs.


  • Aerobic-post treatment, CSTR, Industrial orange waste, Methane, Thermophilic anaerobic digestion