Hot acid hydrolysis as a potential treatment of thickened sewage sludge

E Neyens, Jan Baeyens, M Weemaes, B De Heyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

110 Citations (Scopus)


Municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants produce large amounts of sludge, containing organic and mineral components and being mechanically dewatered to e.g. 20-25% DS in centrifuges. Both the reduction of the amount of sludge produced and improving its dewaterability are hence of paramount importance. Hot acid hydrolysis can meet these objectives. The current paper describes the results of detailed investigations with respect to acid hydrolysis of thickened sludge (5-6% DS content). A comparison with traditional thermal hydrolysis is also included. As a result of the experimental investigations, it can be concluded that hot acid hydrolysis is efficient in both reducing the residual sludge amounts and improving the dewaterability. Under the proposed optimum conditions it is found that (i) the amount of hydrolysed DS is approximately 70% lower than the initial untreated amount, (ii) the DS-solid content of the dewatered cake is increased from 22.5% (initial untreated) to at least twice this value, (iii) the rate of mechanical dewatering is not significantly affected. The preferential release of ODS into the water phase, and the increased BOD/COD-ratio through hydrolysis, turn this recycle water phase into a possible carbon-source for nitrification/denitrification. Heavy metals and phosphates are also released in the water phase, and can be subsequently precipitated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-293
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2003


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