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Improving the methane productivity of anaerobic digestion using aqueous extracts from municipal solid waste incinerator ash

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Burhan ShamuradORCiD, Emeritus Professor Neil GrayORCiD, Dr Evangelos Petropoulos, Shamas Tabraiz, Dr Paul Sallis



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Academic Press, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This study investigated the effects of mineral waste extracts (MWE) on laboratory-scale two-stage anaerobic digesters treating synthetic organic waste. MWE was prepared as aqueous extracts from different ash samples, incineration bottom ash (IBA), fly ash (FA) and boiler ash (BA), taken from a municipal solid waste incineration plant. At 20 days hydraulic retention time, all three MWE stimulated hydrogen production in their respective acidogenic reactor by around 35% (c.f. control acidogenic reactor), whilst no difference was seen in the methane productivity of the linked methanogenic reactors (average 527 ± 45 mL CH4/g VS, including control methanogenic reactor). Following a step reduction in hydraulic retention time from 20 to 10 days and doubling of organic loading rate from 2.5 g to 5 g VS/L. d, no significant change was seen in hydrogen production (p > 0.05) in acidogenic reactor amended with MWE from IBA and BA, or the control acidogenic reactor, however, acidogenic reactor receiving MWE from FA had 45% lower hydrogen productivity. The step change in hydraulic retention time and organic loading rates led to the failure of most methanogenic reactors (≤ 100 mL CH4/g VS), however, the methanogenic reactor receiving feed containing MWE from IBA showed stable performance without signs of failure, and had higher volumetric methane productivity, albeit at lower methane yields (370 ± 20 mL CH4/g VS). 16S rRNA analysis using the Illumina sequencing platform revealed acidogenesis in the acidogenic reactor by Lactobacillaceae and syntrophic acetate oxidation by Synergistaceae linked to enrichment of the candidatus genus Methanofastidiosum, in the stable methanogenic reactor receiving MWE from IBA.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shamurad B, Gray N, Petropoulos E, Tabraiz S, Sallis P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Environmental Management

Year: 2020

Volume: 260

Print publication date: 15/04/2020

Online publication date: 23/01/2020

Acceptance date: 17/01/2020

Date deposited: 22/01/2020

ISSN (print): 0301-4797

ISSN (electronic): 1095-8630

Publisher: Academic Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.110160


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