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Enhanced Nutrients Removal in Conventional Anaerobic Digestion Processes

Authors: M. Z. Othman, S. Uludag-Demirer, G. N. Demirer


One of the main challenges for one phase anaerobic digestion processes is the high concentration of NH4+ and PO4 3- ions  in the digested sludge supernatant. This project focuses on enhancing the removal of nutrients during the anaerobic digestion process through fixing both NH4+ and PO4 3- ions in the form of struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate, MAP, MgNH4PO4.6H2O) within the anaerobic sludge. Batch anaerobic digestion tests showed that Mg2+ concentration in the range 279 – 812 mg/L had insignificant effect on CGP but incurred a slight increase in COD removal. The reactor that had soluble Mg2+:NH4+:PO43- at a molar ratio of 1.28:1:00:1:00 achieved the best performance enhancement of 8% increase in COD removal and 32% reduction in NH4+ in the reactor supernatant. Overall, the results show that there is a potential to optimise conventional anaerobic digestion such that supernatant lean in P and N, and sludge rich in nutrients are obtained. 

Keywords: Anaerobic Digestion, Nutrients, Struvite, Waste Activated Sludge (WAS)

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