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Applied Energy 123 (2014) 143156

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Applied Energy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/apenergy

Pretreatment methods to enhance anaerobic digestion of organic solid


waste
Javkhlan Ariunbaatar a,c,, Antonio Panico b, Giovanni Esposito a, Francesco Pirozzi b, Piet N.L. Lens c
a
Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, University of Cassino and the Southern Lazio, Via Di Biasio, 43, 03043 Cassino, FR, Italy
b
Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, Via Claudio, 21, 80125 Naples, Italy
c
UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Westvest 7, 2611 AX Delft, The Netherlands

h i g h l i g h t s

 Pretreating organic solid wastes leads to an enhanced anaerobic digestion process.


 Pretreatments may also reduce the cost for post treatment of digestates.
 Efciency of pretreatment methods depends on the substrates characteristics.
 Only few pretreatment methods are successfully applied at full-scale to date.

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: This paper reviews pretreatment techniques to enhance the anaerobic digestion of organic solid waste,
Received 1 August 2013 including mechanical, thermal, chemical and biological methods. The effects of various pretreatment
Received in revised form 24 January 2014 methods are discussed independently and in combination. Pretreatment methods are compared in terms
Accepted 9 February 2014
of their efciency, energy balance, environmental sustainability as well as capital, operational and main-
tenance costs. Based on the comparison, thermal pretreatment at low (<110 C) temperatures and two-
stage anaerobic digestion methods result in a more cost-effective process performance as compared to
Keywords:
other pretreatment methods.
Anaerobic digestion
Pretreatment
2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Organic solid waste
Sustainability
Economic cost

Contents

1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
2. Mechanical pretreatment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
2.1. Process description and mode of action. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
2.2. Mechanical pretreatment of OFMSW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
2.3. Mechanical pretreatment of miscellaneous OSW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
3. Thermal pretreatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
3.1. Process description and mode of action. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
3.2. Thermal pretreatment at lower temperatures (<110 C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
3.3. Thermal pretreatment at higher temperature (>110 C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146

Abbreviations: AD, anaerobic digestion; COD, chemical oxygen demand; CSTR, continuously stirred reactor; FW, food waste; HHW, household waste; HMF,
hydroxymethylfurfural; HPH, high pressure homogenizer; HRT, hydraulic retention time; MSW, municipal solid waste; OFMSW, organic fraction of municipal solid waste;
OLR, organic loading rate; OM, operational and maintenance; OSW, organic solid waste; PEF, pulsed electric eld; SRT, solid retention time; SS, sewage sludge; THP, thermal
hydrolysis process; TPAD, temperature phased anaerobic digestion; WWTP, wastewater treatment plant; TS, total solid; UASB, upow anaerobic sludge blanket; VS, volatile
solid; VFA, volatile fatty acid; WAS, waste activated sludge.
Corresponding author at: Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, University of Cassino and the Southern Lazio, Via Di Biasio, 43, 03043 Cassino, FR, Italy. Fax:
+39 07762993989.
E-mail addresses: jaka@unicas.it, j.ariunbaatar@unesco-ihe.org (J. Ariunbaatar).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.02.035
0306-2619/ 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
144 J. Ariunbaatar et al. / Applied Energy 123 (2014) 143156

4. Chemical pretreatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146


4.1. Process description and mode of action. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
4.1.1. Alkali pretreatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
4.1.2. Acid pretreatment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
4.1.3. Effects of accompanying cations present in the acid/alkaline reagents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
4.1.4. Ozonation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
4.2. Chemical pretreatments of OSW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
5. Biological pretreatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
5.1. Conventional biological pretreatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
5.2. Two-stage AD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
5.2.1. Temperature phased anaerobic digestion (TPAD). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
5.2.2. Biohythane production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
6. Combination of various pretreatments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
6.1. Thermo-chemical pretreatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
6.2. Thermo-mechanical pretreatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
6.3. Various pretreatments combined with a two-stage AD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
7. Comparison of pretreatment methods to enhance anaerobic digestion of OFMSW. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
8. Feasibility of a full scale application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
8.1. Energy balance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
8.2. Economic feasibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
8.3. Environmental aspects and sustainability of pretreatment methods. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
9. Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154

1. Introduction In the recent past a number of reviews have been published


with a common aim to assess the pretreatment effects. Table 1
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is one of the oldest and well-studied shows that most of the research on pretreatment methods has
technologies for stabilizing organic wastes [1]. Among the treat- been conducted on wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) sludge
ment technologies available for treating organic solid wastes and/or lignocellulosic substrates; whereas there is a limited num-
(OSW), AD is very suitable because of its limited environmental ber of reviews on the recently growing interest of pretreatment
impacts [25] and high potential for energy recovery [2,3,6]. Such methods to enhance AD of OSW, specically the organic fraction
positive aspects coupled with the recent concerns on rapid popula- of municipal solid waste (OFMSW). Therefore, this paper aims to
tion growth, increasing energy demand, and global warming have review the most recently studied pretreatment methods including
promoted further research on the AD process development and mechanical, thermal, chemical and biological methods to enhance
improvement in order to enhance biogas production, achieve faster AD of OSW, with an emphasis on OFMSW. The pretreatment meth-
degradation rates and reduce the amount of nal residue to be dis- ods will be compared in terms of efciency, energy balance, cost
posed [3,4,7]. and process sustainability.
AD is a biological process that converts complex substrates into
biogas and digestate by microbial action in the absence of oxygen 2. Mechanical pretreatment
through four main steps, namely hydrolysis, acidogenesis, aceto-
genesis and methanogenesis. Most researchers report that the 2.1. Process description and mode of action
rate-limiting step for complex organic substrates is the hydrolysis
step [826], due to the formation of toxic by-products (complex Mechanical pretreatment disintegrates and/or grinds solid par-
heterocyclic compounds) or non desirable volatile fatty acids ticles of the substrates, thus releasing cell compounds and increas-
(VFA) formed during the hydrolysis step [27,28]; whereas metha- ing the specic surface area. An increased surface area provides
nogenesis is the rate-limiting step for easily biodegradable sub- better contact between substrate and anaerobic bacteria, thus
strates [24,27,29,30]. Extensive research has been conducted on enhancing the AD process [3,24,25]. Esposito et al. suggested that
pretreatment methods to accelerate the hydrolysis step [31,32] a larger particle radius results in lower chemical oxygen demand
and to obtain suitable by-products from this step [28], as well as (COD) degradation and a lower methane production rate [37]. Like-
to improve the quality of useful components like nitrogen and wise, Kim et al. showed that particle size is inversely proportional
phosphorus to be recycled [33]. to the maximum substrate utilization rate of the anaerobic mi-
According to European Union Regulation EC1772/2002, sub- crobes [38]. Therefore, mechanical pretreatments such as sonica-
strates such as municipal solid waste (MSW), food waste (FW), tion, lysis-centrifuge, liquid shear, collision, high-pressure
and slaughterhouse wastes need to be pasteurized or sterilized be- homogenizer, maceration, and liquefaction are conducted in order
fore and/or after AD. Taking this regulation into account, pretreat- to reduce the substrate particle size.
ment methods could be applied, thus obtaining a higher energy In addition to size reduction, some methods result in other ef-
recovery and eliminating the extra cost for pasteurization and/or fects depending on the pretreatment. Hartmann et al. reported that
sterilization [34,35]. Pretreatment methods could nevertheless be the effect of maceration is more due to shearing than cutting of the
unsustainable in terms of environmental footprints, even if they bers [39]. Sonication pretreatment generated by a vibrating probe
enhance the AD process performance [36]. The effects of various mechanically disrupts the cell structure and oc matrix [40]. The
pretreatment methods are highly different depending on the char- main effect of ultrasonic pretreatment is particle size reduction
acteristics of the substrates and the pretreatment type. Hence, it is at low frequency (2040 kHz) sound waves [41]. High-frequency
difcult to compare and systematically assess the applicability and sound waves also cause the formation of radicals such as OH,
sustainability of such methods at a full scale. HO2 , H, which results in oxidation of solid substances [42].
J. Ariunbaatar et al. / Applied Energy 123 (2014) 143156 145

Table 1
Reviews on different pretreatment methods to enhance AD using various substrates.

Substrate Pretreatment methods Important ndings Reference


OFMSW All pretreatment methods Physical pretreatments are widely applied for OFMSW, whereas other methods are not spread at [61]
industrial level
Further research on pretreatment should focus more on the modelling as well as mass and energy
balance of the pretreatment effect and the whole AD process
All organic All pretreatment methods The most popular pretreatment methods are thermal and ultrasonic for WWTP sludge, chemical [39]
substrates for lignocellulosic substrates, and mechanical for OFMSW
Systematic studies on energy balance and economic feasibility are necessary
Further development of descriptive and predictive variables is required
Lignocellulosic Thermal, thermo-chemical, Pretreatments could improve the digestibility of lignocellulosic substrates [73]
substrates chemical Pretreatments could result in more efcient process as compared to the conventional process
Lignocellulosic Thermal, thermo-chemical, Thermal pretreatments as well as lime and ammonia based chemical methods are more effective [34]
substrates and chemical in improving the digestibility of lignocellulosic substrates
Pulp & paper Thermal, thermo-chemical, Pretreatments could result in reduced HRT, increased methane production, and reduced sludge [40]
sludge chemical size
WWTP sludge Ultrasound, chemical, thermal, Pretreatments result in enhanced biogas production (3050%) [22]
and microwave Comprehensive model for evaluating the economic feasibility was developed
WWTP sludge Thermal, thermo-chemical, The effect of pretreatment methods depends on the characteristics of sludge and the intensity of [3]
and chemical the method
Pretreatments could yield a better digestate with high recoverable nutrients
WWTP sludge Thermal and thermo-chemical Thermal pretreatment at high temperature (>175 C) as well as thermo-chemical methods are [60]
more effective in improving sludge dewaterability

A high pressure homogenizer (HPH) increases the pressure up production yield. However, excess size reduction to particles smal-
to several hundred bar, then homogenizes substrates under strong ler than 0.7 mm caused an accumulation of VFA [8]. As the meth-
depressurization [43]. The formed cavitation induces internal en- anogens are sensitive to acidic intermediates [55], excessive size
ergy, which disrupts the cell membranes [44]. These pretreatment reduction may result in a decreased AD process performance.
methods are not common for OFMSW, but they are more popular Few research on electroporation, liquefaction, and high frequency
with other substrates such as lignocellulosic materials, manure sonication pretreatment methods to enhance OFMSW has been
and WWTP sludge. Size reduction through beads mill, electropora- conducted. Electroporation pretreatment of OFMSW resulted in
tion and liquefaction pretreatments of OFMSW has been studied at 2040% higher biogas production [46], and liquefaction resulted
lab scale, whereas rotary drum, screw press, disc screen shredder, in 1526% higher biogas production [3], whereas sonication re-
FW disposer and piston press treatment are successfully applied at sulted in 16% higher cumulative biogas production as compared
full scale. Both electroporation and liquefaction pretreatments to untreated substrates [56]. The higher biogas production was
cause cellular structure damage, thus the effect on the AD process mostly due to the more extensive solubilization of the particulates.
is similar to maceration [45,46].
The advantages of mechanical pretreatment include no odour
generation, an easy implementation, better dewaterability of the 2.3. Mechanical pretreatment of miscellaneous OSW
nal anaerobic residue and a moderate energy consumption. Dis-
advantages include no signicant effect on pathogen removal and Maceration, sonication and HPH are the simplest mechanical
the possibility of equipment clogging or scaling [47,48]. pretreatments for OSW such as WWTP sludge and lignocellulosic
substrates. Size reduction of lignocellulosic substrates results in a
2.2. Mechanical pretreatment of OFMSW 525% increased hydrolysis yield, depending on the mechanical
methods used [34], whereas for WWTP sludge and manure, the ef-
Mechanical pretreatments such as rotary drum were used as an fects of pretreatments signicantly differ. Generally, applying mac-
effective technology for OFMSW separation and pretreatment prior eration pretreatment enhances biogas production by 1060% [3].
to AD, which could enhance the biogas production by 1836% For instance, maceration of bers in manure up to 2 mm resulted
[49,50]. Davidson et al. found small variations in both methane in a 16% increase of the biogas production, while size reduction
yields per gVS (gram volatile solids) and content of methane in bio- up to 0.35 mm resulted in a 20% increase, and no signicant differ-
gas while studying the biomethane potential of source-sorted ence was observed with further size reduction [57].
OFMSW pretreated with different mechanical methods including Barjebruch and Kopplow treated surplus sludge with HPH at
screw press, disc screen shredder, FW disposer and piston press 600 bar, and showed that the laments were completely disinte-
[51]. Similarly, Zhang and Banks found no signicant enhancement grated [44]. Engelhart et al. studied the effect of HPH on the AD
with such pretreatment methods [52]. Hansen et al. studied the ef- of sewage sludge (SS), and achieved a 25% increased VS reduction
fects of the same pre-treatment technologies on the quantity and [58]. This improvement was induced by the increased soluble pro-
quality of source-sorted OFMSW. They found that screw press pre- tein, lipid, and carbohydrate concentration. The HPH of WWTP
treatment resulted in a smaller substrate particle size, while a sludge has been applied at full scale, resulting in a 30% biogas
shredder with magnetic separation yielded a higher (5.613.8% enhancement, thus the working volume of digesters could be de-
as compared to the other methods) methane production [53]. In creased by 23% [3].
contrast, Bernstad et al. reported that the screw press pretreatment Sonication prior to the AD process resulted in an enhancement
method also result in a loss of biodegradable materials and nutri- of the biogas production of 24140% in batch systems, and 1045%
ents, even though it enhances the biogas production in general in continuous or semi-continuous systems [3]. However, not all
[54]. studies conrm the enhancement of VS destruction or higher bio-
Izumi et al. studied the effect of the particle size on FW bio- gas production. Sandino et al. studied sonication of waste activated
methanation. Size reduction through a beads mill resulted in a sludge (WAS) and obtained only a negligible increase in both VS
40% higher COD solubilization, which led to a 28% higher biogas destruction and mesophilic methane production [59].
146 J. Ariunbaatar et al. / Applied Energy 123 (2014) 143156

3. Thermal pretreatment 90 C [19]. Raque et al. achieved a maximal enhancement of


78% higher biogas production with a 60% methane content by pre-
3.1. Process description and mode of action treatment at 70 C [10]. Ferrer et al. obtained a 30% higher biogas
production with a 69% methane content [17], whereas Climent
Thermal treatment is one of the most studied pretreatment et al. obtained a 50% biogas volume increase with pretreatment
methods, and has been successfully applied at industrial scale at 70 C prior to thermophilic AD [70]. Gavala et al. reported that
[3,31,61]. Thermal pretreatment also leads to pathogen removal, pretreatment of primary and secondary WWTP sludge at 70 C
improves dewatering performance and reduces viscosity of the has a different effect on the thermophilic and mesophilic methane
digestate, with subsequent enhancement of digestate handling potential. Thermal pretreatment at 70 C was shown to have a po-
[2,31,32,62]. Various temperatures (50250 C) to enhance the sitive effect on mesophilic AD of primary sludge, but not on its
AD of different OSW (mainly WWTP sludge and lignocellulosic thermophilic AD; whereas it enhanced both the thermophilic and
substrates) have been studied. However, to the best of our mesophilic methane production of secondary sludge. This can be
knowledge, no systematic research on various temperature and explained by the chemical composition of the OSW substrates: pri-
treatment times to enhance AD of OFMSW has been conducted. mary sludge contains higher amounts of carbohydrates, whereas
The main effect of thermal pre-treatment is the disintegration secondary sludge contains higher amounts of proteins and lipids
of cell membranes, thus resulting in solubilization of organic com- [26].
pounds [17,6365]. COD solubilization and temperature have a di-
rect correlation. Higher solubilization can also be achieved with 3.3. Thermal pretreatment at higher temperature (>110 C)
lower temperatures, but longer treatment times. Mottet et al. com-
pared different thermal pretreatment methods and found no sig- Liu et al. studied the thermal pre-treatment of FW and fruit and
nicant difference between steam and electric heating, whereas vegetable waste at 175 C; they obtained a 7.9% and 11.7% decrease
microwave heating solubilized more biopolymers [66]. The higher of the biomethane production, respectively, due to the formation of
rate of solubilization with microwave pretreatment can be caused melanoidins [62]. Ma et al. obtained a 24% increase of the biome-
by the polarization of macromolecules [47,63]. Concerning the lig- thane production with FW pretreated at 120 C [9]. Raque et al.
nocellulosic substrates, temperatures exceeding 160 C cause not studied pretreatment of pig manure at temperatures higher than
only the solubilization of hemicellulose but also solubilization of 110 C [10]. They observed hardening and darkening of manure,
lignin. The released compounds are mostly phenolic compounds which resulted in a low biogas yield. Hardening and the dark
that are usually inhibitory to anaerobic microbial populations [34]. brownish color development of the substrate indicated the occur-
Bougrier et al. suggested that thermal pretreatment at high rence of Mallaird reactions.
temperatures (>170 C) might lead to the creation of chemical
bonds and result in the agglomeration of the particles [42]. One
4. Chemical pretreatment
of the most known phenomena is the Mallaird reaction, which oc-
curs between carbohydrates and amino acids, resulting in the for-
4.1. Process description and mode of action
mation of complex substrates that are difcult to be biodegraded.
This reaction can occur at extreme thermal treatment at tempera-
Chemical pretreatment is used to achieve the destruction of the
tures exceeding 150 C, or longer treatment time at lower temper-
organic compounds by means of strong acids, alkalis or oxidants.
atures (<100 C) [3,25,34,67,68].
AD generally requires an adjustment of the pH by increasing alka-
In addition to these chemical reactions, thermal pretreatment
linity, thus alkali pretreatment is the preferred chemical method
can also result in loss of volatile organics and/or potential biome-
[71]. Acidic pretreatments and oxidative methods such as ozona-
thane production from easily biodegradable substrates. Therefore,
tion are also used to enhance the biogas production and improve
the effects of thermal pretreatment depend on the substrate type
the hydrolysis rate. The effect of chemical pretreatment depends
and temperature range.
on the type of method applied and the characteristics of the sub-
strates. Chemical pretreatment is not suitable for easily biodegrad-
able substrates containing high amounts of carbohydrates, due to
3.2. Thermal pretreatment at lower temperatures (<110 C)
their accelerated degradation and subsequent accumulation of
VFA, which leads to failure of the methanogenesis step [72]. In con-
Protot et al. suggested that thermal pretreatment at tempera-
trast, it can have a clear positive effect on substrates rich in lignin
tures below 100 C did not result in degradation of complex mole-
[13].
cules, but it simply induces the deocculation of macromolecules
[64]. Barjenbruch and Kopplow obtained a similar conclusion with
pretreatment at 90 C. Their results showed that the laments are 4.1.1. Alkali pretreatment
not disintegrated, but they were only attacked with thermal pre- During alkali pretreatment, the rst reactions that occur are sol-
treatment [44]. Neyens and Bayens reported that thermal pretreat- vation and saphonication, which induce the swelling of solids [31].
ment resulted in the solubilization of proteins and increased the As a result, the specic surface area is increased and the substrates
removal of particulate carbohydrates [60]. are easily accessible to anaerobic microbes [34,73,74]. Then, COD
Thermal pretreatment of sludge even at lower temperature solubilization is increased through various simultaneous reactions
(70 C) has a decisive effect on pathogen removal [24]. Probably such as saponication of uronic acids and acetyl esters, as well as
based on such results, the EU Regulation EC1772/2002 requires neutralization of various acids formed by the degradation of the
OSW to be pretreated at least an hour at 70 C. In this regard, particulates [75]. When substrates are pretreated with alkali meth-
numerous studies on thermal pretreatment at 70 C were con- ods, an important aspect is that the biomass itself consumes some
ducted. For instance, pretreating household waste and algal bio- of the alkali [34], thus higher alkali reagents might be required for
mass at 70 C for 60 min and 8 h, respectively, did not result in obtaining the desired AD enhancement.
enhancement of the biogas production [18,69]. Appels et al. ob-
tained a negligible increase of biogas production from sludge pre- 4.1.2. Acid pretreatment
treated at 70 C for 60 min, whereas the biogas production was Acid pretreatment is more desirable for lignocellulosic sub-
improved 20 times when applying a 60 min pretreatment at strates, not only because it breaks down the lignin, but also
J. Ariunbaatar et al. / Applied Energy 123 (2014) 143156 147

because the hydrolytic microbes are capable of acclimating to recalcitrant compounds become more biodegradable and accessi-
acidic conditions [76]. The main reaction that occurs during acid ble to the anaerobic bacteria [91].
pretreatment is the hydrolysis of hemicellulose into perspective
monosaccharides, while the lignin condensates and precipitates 4.2. Chemical pretreatments of OSW
[34,77]. Strong acidic pretreatment may result in the production
of inhibitory by-products, such as furfural and hydroxymethylfurf- Chemical pretreatments are widely applied on wastewater
ural (HMF) [73,76]. Hence, strong acidic pretreatment is avoided sludge and lignocellulosic substrates [3,34,73], while very limited
and pretreatment with dilute acids is coupled with thermal meth- research has been conducted on OFMSW. Ozonation pretreatment
ods (see also Section 2.5). Other disadvantages associated with the has only been conducted on wastewater or sludge from WWTP. In
acid pretreatment include the loss of fermentable sugar due to the general, the optimal ozone dose for enhancing AD of WWTP sludge
increased degradation of complex substrates, a high cost of acids ranges between 0.05 to 0.5 gO3/gTS [3,9193]. Cesaro and Belgi-
and the additional cost for neutralizing the acidic conditions prior orno reported that the optimum ozone dose for source-sorted
to the AD process [73,78,79]. OFMSW is 0.16 gO3/gTS, which resulted in a 37% higher cumulative
methane production [56]. Lopez-Torres and Llorens obtained a
4.1.3. Effects of accompanying cations present in the acid/alkaline 11.5% increased methane production with alkaline pretreatment
reagents of OFMSW [74]. Neves et al. achieved 100% of the potential produc-
In addition to the effects of the alkali and acid themselves, the tion with alkaline (0.3 gNaOH/gTS) pretreated barley waste [28].
AD might be affected by the accompanying cations present in these Patil et al. studied the effect of alkaline pretreatment of water hya-
reagents including sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, since cinth, which has a lower lignin content as compared to other plants
the chemicals are added mostly as salts or hydroxides of these cat- [94]. They found that the alkaline pretreatment had a smaller effect
ions. Therefore, the inhibitory concentrations of these cations than mechanical pretreatments. Therefore, acidic and alkaline pre-
should be considered [3,80]. treatment are not suitable for substrates with a low lignin content.
Kim et al. studied the inhibition of the sodium ion concentration
on the thermophilic AD of FW, and reported that more than 5 g/L of
sodium resulted in lower biogas production [38]. Sodium is more 5. Biological pretreatment
toxic to propionic acid utilizing bacteria as compared to other
VFA degrading bacteria [81]. The inhibitory level of the potassium Biological pretreatment includes both anaerobic and aerobic
ion starts at 400 mg/L, though anaerobic microbes are able to tol- methods, as well as the addition of specic enzymes such as pep-
erate up to 8 g/L potassium [82]. The potassium ion is more toxic tidase, carbohydrolase and lipase to the AD system. Such conven-
to thermophilic anaerobes as compared to mesophilic or psychro- tional pretreatment methods are not very popular with OFMSW,
philic anaerobes [83]. but have been applied widely on other types of OSW such as
The optimum concentrations of calcium and magnesium ions WWTP sludge and pulp and paper industries.
have been reported to be 200 mg/L and 720 mg/L, respectively The hydrolytic-acidogenic step (rst step) of a two-phase AD
[84,85]. Excessive amounts of calcium ions can cause precipitation process is considered as a biological pretreatment method by some
of carbonates and phosphates, which results in scaling of the reac- researchers [3,9597], while others consider it as a process cong-
tors, pipes, and biomass; thus it reduces the specic methanogenic uration of AD, but not a pretreatment method [31]. Physically sep-
activity and results in a loss of buffer capacity [113]. Also high con- arating the acidogens from the methanogens can result in a higher
centrations (>100 mM) of the magnesium ion can cause disaggre- methane production and COD removal efciency at a shorter
gation of methanogens, thus the conversion of acetate is hydraulic retention time (HRT) as to conventional single-stage
inhibited [85]. digesters [98]. Parawira et al. reported that optimizing the rst
Furthermore, AD could also be enhanced indirectly due to the hydrolysis stage could stimulate the acidogenic microbes to pro-
supplementation of trace metals such as cobalt (Co), molybdenum duce more specic enzymes, thus resulting in more extended deg-
(Mo), selenium (Se), iron (Fe), tungsten (W), copper (Cu) and nickel radation of substrates [99]. Therefore, in this review paper the rst
(Ni), which play a role in many biochemical reactions of the anaer- step of the two-phase AD systems are considered as a pretreatment
obic food web. For instance Zhang and Jahng used supplements of method.
trace metals such as Fe, Co, Mo and Ni to stabilize a single-stage
reactor treating FW, and concluded that Fe was the most effective 5.1. Conventional biological pretreatment
metal for stabilization of the AD process [86]. Facchin et al.
achieved a 4565% higher methane production yield from FW with Aerobic pretreatment such as composting or micro-aeration
supplementation of a trace metals (Co, Mo, Ni, Se, and W) cocktail prior to AD can be an effective method to obtain a higher hydroly-
[87]. Nevertheless, supplementing trace metals to solid waste AD sis of complex substrates due to the higher production of hydro-
plants should not be considered as a pretreatment method, though lytic enzymes, which is induced by the increased specic
it could be an effective method for achieving higher biogas produc- microbial growth [100]. Fdez-Guelfo et al. reported that pretreat-
tion rates with a higher methane content. ment by composting resulted in a higher specic microbial growth
rate (160205% as compared to untreated OFMSW) than by ther-
4.1.4. Ozonation mochemical pretreatment [14]. Lim and Wang also afrmed that
Another chemical pretreatment method is ozonation [3], which the aerobic pretreatment yielded a greater VFA formation due to
does not cause an increase of the salt concentration and no chem- the enhanced activities of the hydrolytic and acidogenic bacteria
ical residues remain as compared to other chemical pretreatment [100]. However, according to the results obtained by Brummeler
methods. Moreover, it also disinfects the pathogens [88,89]. Hence, and Koster, a pre-composting treatment of OFMSW resulted in a
ozonation has gained great interest for sludge pretreatment [3,90], 19.5% VS loss [101]. Mshandate et al. also observed a loss of poten-
and to a lesser extend OFMSW. Ozone is a strong oxidant, which tial methane production with a longer aerobic pretreatment of sisal
decomposes itself into radicals and reacts with organic substrates pulp waste [102].
[90] in two ways: directly and indirectly. The direct reaction de- Miah et al. investigated the biogas production of SS pretreated
pends on the structure of the reactant, whereas the indirect reac- with aerobic thermophilic bacteria closely related to Geobacillus
tion is based on the hydroxyl radicals. As a result, the thermodenitricans [15]. According to their results, the highest
148 J. Ariunbaatar et al. / Applied Energy 123 (2014) 143156

amount of biogas (70 ml/gVS) with a 8090% methane content was WAS with TPAD compared to a single stage mesophilic and ther-
achieved at 65 C. Melamane et al. studied the AD of wine distillery mophilic digester [119]. TPAD yielded a 1215% higher VS reduc-
wastewater pretreated with the fungus Trametes pubescens. This tion and it was as stable as the single stage mesophilic reactor,
fungal pretreatment obtained a 53.3% COD removal efciency, whereas pathogen removal was as high as in the single stage ther-
which increased the total COD removal efciency of the AD system mophilic reactor.
up to 99.5% [103]. Muthangya et al. used pure cultures of the fun-
gus Trichoderma reseei to aerobically pretreat sisal leaf decortica- 5.2.2. Biohythane production
tion residues. Their results showed that aerobic incubation for Optimizing two-stage conditions may result in the production
4 days resulted in a 3040% cumulative biogas increase with a of bio-hydrogen from the primary reactor and biomethane from
higher (5066%) methane content [104]. Romano et al. studied the second reactor, making it a very attractive biohythane produc-
two types of enzymes capable to hydrolyze plant cell walls to en- ing system. Numerous studies have been conducted on the optimi-
hance the biomethanation of Jose Tall wheat grass [16]. They did zation of such systems with reactors both at mesophilic and/or
not obtain a signicant biogas enhancement or VS reduction, thermophilic temperatures. Liu et al. obtained 43 mlH2/gVS and
though the hydrolysis step was accelerated [15]. 500 mlCH4/gVS from household waste (HHW) [120], whereas
Wang et al. obtained 65 mlH2/gVS and 546 mlCH4/gVS from FW
5.2. Two-stage AD [110]. Chu et al. reported that the optimum hydrogen production
from FW is achieved at pH 5.56 in thermophilic AD. The bio-
A two-stage AD system consists of a hydrolytic-acidogenic stage hydrogen content was 52% with no methane in the rst stage,
followed by the methanogenic stage. The advantages of such sys- whereas the methane content was 7080% in the secondary reac-
tems include: (i) increased stability with better pH control; (ii) tor. Based on a mass balance, 9.3% of the COD was converted to
higher loading rate; (iii) increased specic activity of methanogens hydrogen and 76.5% converted to methane [121]. Escamilla-Alva-
resulting in a higher methane yield; (iv) increased VS reduction rado et al. studied the optimization of two-stage AD of OFMSW,
and (v) high potential for removing pathogens [6,105109]. The and obtained an overall biogas production of 661 2.5 and
disadvantages include: (i) hydrogen built-up resulting in inhibition 703 2.9 ml/gVS for mesophilic and thermophilic operations,
of acid-forming bacteria; (ii) elimination of possible interdepen- respectively. The biogas produced from the primary reactor con-
dent nutrient requirements for the methane forming bacteria; tained 310% hydrogen, whereas the biogas from the secondary
(iii) technical complexity and (iv) higher costs [110,111]. reactor contained 2561% methane [122].
Verrier et al. compared two-stage methanization of vegetable
wastes with mesophilic and thermophilic single stage continu-
ously stirred tank reactors (CSTR). They found that for easily biode- 6. Combination of various pretreatments
gradable wastes, a two-stage reactor converted 90% of the wastes
to biogas, which outperformed both the mesophilic and thermo- 6.1. Thermo-chemical pretreatment
philic single stage CSTR and could withstand higher organic loads
[112]. Zhang et al. investigated the effect of pH on two-phase AD Different pretreatment methods rely on various mechanisms to
of FW, and suggested that adjusting the pH to 7 in the hydrolysis solubilize particulate organic matter [11,27]. Hence pretreatment
stage can improve both the total solids (TS) loading rate and biogas methods in combination have also been studied to obtain a further
production yield [113]. enhancement of biogas production and faster AD process kinetics.
Shahriari et al. investigated the AD of OFMSW pretreated with a
5.2.1. Temperature phased anaerobic digestion (TPAD) combination of high temperature microwaves and hydrogen per-
Recently more research is being conducted on temperature oxide pretreatment [123]. The combination of microwaves with
phased anaerobic digestion (TPAD). This method usually consists chemical pretreatments as well as the microwave irradiation at
of a primary digester at thermophilic (or hyper-thermophilic) tem- temperatures higher than 145 C resulted in a larger component
perature followed by a mesophilic secondary digester. The advan- of refractory material per gCOD, causing a decrease of the biogas
tages of TPAD include not only higher methane production yields, production. A similar trend was observed with pig manure pre-
but also a pathogen free high nutrient digestate [114]. Riau et al. treated with lime and heated at temperatures higher than 110 C
suggested that TPAD is preferred if the purpose is to achieve path- [10,124]. This could be explained by the increased hydrolyses of
ogen free digestate, which can be directly used as soil conditioner proteins and carbohydrates due to the chemical pretreatment,
[115]. and in the presence of heat the produced amino acids and sugars
Schmit and Ellis reported that TPAD outperformed conventional reacted together forming complex polymers such as melanoidins.
AD processes including dry digestion of source separated OFMSW However, alkaline pretreatment coupled with thermal methods
[116]. Lee et al. investigated TPAD of FW and excess sludge at at a lower temperature (70 C) could result in a higher (78%) biogas
70 C in the primary reactor, followed by a secondary reactor with production with a higher (60%) methane content as compared to
temperatures of 35 C, 55 C and 65 C [117]. The best result was the best results (28% increase of biogas production with 50% meth-
achieved at a solid retention time (SRT) of 4 days and 70 C in ane content) obtained by thermal pretreatment at higher temper-
the primary reactor, followed by a secondary reactor at 55 C. atures (>100 C) [10]. This enhancement of the AD process is due to
Wang et al. compared the conventional thermophilic digestion the reduction of the hemicellulosic fraction [10,124].
with TPAD (hyper-thermophilic (80 C) and thermophilic (55 C)
primary reactor followed by a mesophilic reactor), treating FW 6.2. Thermo-mechanical pretreatment
with polylactide. They obtained a COD solubilization of 82%,
85.2%, 63.5% with TPAD with a hyper-thermophilic rst stage, Mechanical pretreatment combined with thermal treatment
TPAD with a thermophilic rst stage, and a conventional thermo- have also been studied to enhance the AD of OFMSW, though this
philic digester, respectively. Moreover, 82.9%, 80.8%, 70.1% of the combination is not popular for OFMSW. Zhang et al. obtained the
organics were converted into methane with TPAD with a hyper- highest enhancement of biogas production (17%) by grinding (up
thermophilic rst stage, TPAD with a thermophilic rst stage and to 10 mm) rice straw and heating it to 110 C [103]. Chiu et al.
a conventional thermophilic digester, respectively [118]. Song compared the hydrolysis yield of sludge pretreated with a combi-
et al. compared the biogas production and pathogen removal of nation of ultrasonic and alkaline pretreatment. Simultaneous
J. Ariunbaatar et al. / Applied Energy 123 (2014) 143156 149

ultrasonic and alkaline pretreatment of sludge resulted in the high- up to 11.548% higher biogas yield depending on the pretreatment
est hydrolysis rate of 211 mg/l min [25]. Wett et al. (2010) studied conditions and substrate characteristics.
the disintegration of sludge pretreated at 1921 bar pressure and In thermal pretreatment, temperature plays a major role in the
160180 C for 1 h. The combined pretreatment resulted in a 75% enhancement of biogas production. Low temperature (70 C) pre-
increased biogas production at steady state, and the dewatering treatment can result in a 2.69% higher biogas production for FW,
characteristics of the sludge were also improved, thus the disposal whereas it does not have any signicant biogas production
cost was reduced by 25%. However, the increased hydrolysis of enhancement for HHW or commingled OFMSW. Pretreating FW
protein caused a 64% increase of the ammonia concentration in at high temperature results in 24% and 11.7% increased biogas pro-
the reactor [125], which may lead to process instability. Schieder duction at 120 C and 150 C, respectively. Higher temperatures
et al. studied the temperature and pressure catalyzed (160 (175 C) result in a decreased biogas production, due to formation
200 C at 40 bar for 60 min) hydrolysis to improve the AD of SS, complex polymers such as melanoidins.
and achieved a 70% higher biogas recovery at 5 days shorter diges- Conventional biological pretreatments are not very popular for
tion as compared to AD of untreated SS [126]. OFMSW, whereas two-stage AD systems with hydrogen recovery
have become an interesting research eld among the scientic
community. Pretreatments such as composting could result in
6.3. Various pretreatments combined with a two-stage AD higher microbial activities [14]; but also result in a loss of volatile
organics, and thus a potential methane production [101]. More-
Considering the rst stage of two-stage AD as biological pre- over, for easily biodegradable wastes such as FW, hydrolysis is
treatment, three-stage processes can be classied as a combined not necessarily the rate-limiting step, thus the increased hydrolysis
pretreatment system. Kim et al. studied semi-anaerobic CSTRs fol- due to pretreatment may lead to VFA accumulation, which subse-
lowed by two-stage upow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reac- quently inhibits the methanogens. Therefore, a two-stage AD is
tors treating FW, and obtained a 95% COD removal and a biogas preferred for easily biodegradable OFMSW, as compared to con-
production of 500 mg/gVS at HRT of 16 days [127]. The same re- ventional single-stage digesters coupled with other pretreatment
search group also reported that the same amount of biogas with methods [132,122].
a higher methane content (67.4%) could be obtained at a lower
HRT (1012 days) by increasing the temperature of the acidogenic
stage from mesophilic to thermophilic [128]. Kvesitadze et al. stud- 8. Feasibility of a full scale application
ied the two-stage thermophilic co-digestion of OFMSW and pre-
treated corn stalk by freeze explosion. The best results of This review showed pretreatment methods can enhance the AD
104 mlH2/gVS and 520 mlCH4/gVS were obtained with alkaline performance. Nevertheless, the high capital cost, high consumption
(pH = 9) pre-hydrolysis, which could increase the heat and electric- of energy, required chemicals and sophisticated operating condi-
ity production by 23% and 26%, respectively, as compared to the tions (maintenance, odor control etc.) are the major factor hinder-
single stage process design [129]. Kim et al. investigated the hydro- ing their full-scale application [77,124,133,134]. There are only a
gen and methane production by a two-phase AD system fed with few examples of the thermal hydrolysis process (THP) that have
thermally pretreated FW; they found at least 3.4 days were neces- been applied at a full-scale such as the Cambi, Porteous, and Zim-
sary to produce hydrogen from FW [130]. Moreover, recycling the pro process, and thermochemical pretreatment methods such as
methanogenic efuent to the hydrogenesis step was applied to re- Synox, Protox, and Krepro. It should be noted that these methods
duce water usage, which further increased the hydrogen produc- are all applied for WWTP sludge. Concerning OFMSW, only a few
tion by 48% [130,131]. mechanical pretreatment methods (Fig. 1), Cambi THP (Fig. 2),
and an AD with a pre-hydrolysis stage (two-stage AD, Fig. 3) have
been applied at a full scale.
7. Comparison of pretreatment methods to enhance anaerobic
digestion of OFMSW 8.1. Energy balance

A systematic comparison of pretreatment methods in terms of The required energy depends on the desired pretreatment tem-
their efciencies, economic feasibility and environmental impacts perature. If it is above 100 C, most of the energy is utilized in
are necessary for choosing the desired pretreatment method. To water vaporization, thus making it less desirable [138]. Some
the best of our knowledge, no comparison of pretreatment efcien- researchers report that microwave heating has advantages over
cies to enhance the AD of OFMSW has been conducted so far. The conventional heating due to the direct internal heating with no
efciency of the AD process can be evaluated through the methane heat loss [22]. However, according to Mottet et al., neither micro-
yield per amount of removed or initial feed of TS, VS, and COD. The wave nor ultrasound was energy incentive for pretreating mixed
substrate solubilization rate and anaerobic biodegradation is also sludge, as the enhanced methane yields were not enough to com-
used to evaluate the AD process performance. Table 2 compares pensate the required energy [66]. Yang et al. reported that thermal
the efciency of pretreatment methods including mechanical, ther- pretreatment signicantly improves the total amount of biogas
mal, biological and a combination of them for enhancing the AD of produced, and the extra biogas produced can be utilized to reduce
OFMSW in terms of biogas production enhancement per amount of the costs through an efcient heat exchanger [135].
initial feed VS. Escamilla-Alvarado et al. obtained a better energy balance with
In general, OFMSW results in 280557 ml/gVS biogas produc- two-stage AD systems treating OFMSW [122]. However, the higher
tion, which is 7095% of the organic matter in the feed. The pre- gross energetic potential was due to the higher performance in the
treatment effects vary depending on the substrate characteristics methanogenic reactor rather than the hydrogen production from
and the type of AD system. The most commonly used mechanical the rst stage. Nasr et al. also estimated the energy balance of
pretreatment methods are size reduction by beads mills, electro- two-stage AD of thin stillage, and concluded that optimizing the
poration, pressurization, disc screen, screw press and shredder two-stage AD process can increase the energy balance by 18.5%
with magnetic separation. Mechanical pretreatments result in a [136]. Lu et al. reported that a two-stage reactor showed a better
2040% increased biogas yield as compared to the untreated sub- energy balance with a surplus of 2.17 kJ/day, as compared to a sin-
strates. Both chemical and thermochemical methods could yield gle stage system for treating SS [27].
150 J. Ariunbaatar et al. / Applied Energy 123 (2014) 143156

Table 2
Comparison of pretreatment methods to enhance AD of OFMSW.

Substrate Pretreatment condition Type of AD system Results Reference


OFMSW (source-sorted) Disc screen Thermophilic batch 80.63% VS reduction with 338 mlCH4/gVS [51]
Screw press 63.2% VS reduction with 354 mlCH4/gVS
Shredder with magnetic separation 63% VS reduction with 289 mlCH4/gVS
OFMSW (source-sorted) Screw press Thermophilic batch 461 mlCH4/gVS [53]
Disc Screen 428 mlCH4/gVS
Shredder with magnetic separation 487 mlCH4/gVS
OFMSW Rotary drum Thermophilic batch 457557 mlCH4/gVS with 57.360.6% [49]
methane
OFMSW Shear shredder, shredded and chopped, Batch (wet and dry) Semi- Negligible effect on the enhancement of [52]
rotary drum, and wet macerator continuous biogas production was achieved. However
the kinetics of the process was faster at
semi-continuous experiments
OFMSW (source-sorted) Semi-composting with Rotary drum Mesophilic batch 511.5% VS higher reduction, and 1836% [50]
higher biogas production
OFMSW Composting Thermophilic dry batch 160205% Higher specic microbial [14]
growth rate
OFMSW Composting Mesophilic dry batch 19.5% VS loss, which is 40% loss of [101]
methane
Food waste 4 days microaeration with 37.5 mlO2/Ld Mesophilic wet batch 21% Higher methane yield for inoculated [100]
substrate, and 10% higher methane yield
for non-inoculated substrate
OFMSW (synthetic) Thermophilic pre-hydrolysis Thermophilic 81.5% COD removal with 95.7% VSS [111]
(continuous 2-stage) destruction and 2 times higher biogas
production
OFMSW (synthetic) Mesophilic and thermophilic pre- Mesophilic and thermophilic Mesophilic pre-hydrolysis performed [122]
hydrolysis (continuous two-stage) better in producing hydrogen, whereas
thermophilic resulted in better
solubilization. The highest methane
production from second stage was 341
mlCH4/gVS
OFMSW and corn stalk Freeze explosion followed by thermophilic Thermophilic 104 ml-H2/g-VS and 520 mlCH4/gVS [129]
pre-hydrolysis
a
OFMSW Alkaline NA 11.5% Higher COD solubilization, methane [74]
yield of 0.15 m3 CH4/kgVS (172% higher
than untreated)
OFMSW Microwave pretreatment at 115145 C for Mesophilic batch 47% Higher biogas produced than [123]
40 min untreated
OFMSW Pre-hydrolysis at 55 C (TPAD) Mesophilic continuous 47.571.6% VS destruction and methane [85]
yield of 299418 ml/g-VS
OFMSW Sonication at 20 kHz for 3060 min Mesophilic batch 60% Increased COD resulted in 24% higher [56]
methane yield
Household waste 70 C for 60 min Thermophilic batch Methane yield of 500 mlCH4/gVS, no [69]
KOH until pH = 10 at 70 C, 60 min enhancement due to pretreatment
Household waste 160200 C, 40 bar for 60 min Mesophilic continuous 5570% COD solubilization, and 3% higher [126]
biogas production
Household waste Mesophilic pre-hydrolysis Mesophilic continuous 43 mlH2/gVS from rst stage, 500 mlCH4/ [120]
(hydrogenogenic) gVS from second stage which is 21%
higher than single stage system
Food waste Microwave with intensity of 7.8 C/min Mesophilic batch 24% Higher COD solubilization and 6% [63]
higher biogas production
Food waste Size reduction by beads mill Mesophilic batch 40% Higher COD solubilization and 28% [8]
higher biogas production
Food waste Addition of HCl until pH = 2 Thermophilic batch 13 7% Higher COD solubilization and [9]
48% higher biogas production
120 C, 1 bar for 30 min 19 3% Higher COD solubilization and
24% higher biogas production
HCl until pH = 2 at 120 C 32 8% Higher COD solubilization and 40%
higher biogas production
Pressurized until 10 bar and depressurized 12 7% Higher COD solubilization and
48% higher biogas production
Frozen at 80 C for 6 h, and thawed for 16 4% Higher COD solubilization and
30 min 56% higher biogas production
Food waste with polylactide Hyper-thermophilic/thermophilic pre- Thermophilic (TPAD) 1518% Higher methane conversion ratios [118]
hydrolysis than conventional thermophilic digester
Food waste Semi-aerobic and anaerobic pre-hydrolysis Mesophilic continuous 95% COD destruction which resulted in [127]
methane yield of 500 ml/gVS
Food waste Thermophilic pre-hydrolysis Thermophilic HRT can be reduced to 10 days [128]
Food waste Thermophilic pre-hydrolysis Mesophilic 61.3% VS destruction, methane yield of [148]
280 ml/gVS
Food waste Mesophilic pre-hydrolysis Mesophilic continuous 9% and 13% Higher biogas production than [112]
(2 stage system) mesophilic and thermophilic AD,
respectively
Food waste Mesophilic pre-hydrolysis Mesophilic Best results of 520 mlCH4/gTS was [113]
achieved at pH = 7
J. Ariunbaatar et al. / Applied Energy 123 (2014) 143156 151

Table 2 (continued)

Substrate Pretreatment condition Type of AD system Results Reference


Food waste Mesophilic pre-hydrolysis Mesophilic continuous 65 mlH2/gVS and 546 mlCH4/gVS [110]
Food waste Thermophilic pre-hydrolysis Mesophilic continuous 205 mlH2/gVS and 464 mlCH4/gVS [121]
Food waste 400 pulses with electroporation Mesophilic continuous 2040% Higher biogas production due to [46]
substrate cell breakage
Food waste 70 C for 2 h Mesophilic continuous 2.69% Higher methane production [21]
150 C for 1 h 11.9% Higher methane production
Food waste Frozen/thawed and pre-hydrolysis for Mesophilic continuous 10% Higher COD solubilization, 23.7% [149]
7 days higher biogas production
Frozen/thawed and pre-hydrolysis for 4% Higher COD solubilization, 8.5% higher
12 days biogas production
Food waste 70 C thermal and mesophilic pre- Mesophilic continuous 91% of FW was converted to biohythane [127]
hydrolysis with 8% hydrogen and 83% methane
Food waste 175 C, 60 min Mesophilic batch 7.9% Decrease in biogas production [62]
Fruits and vegetables waste 11.7% Decrease in biogas production
a
NA Not available.

Fig. 1. Mechanical pretreatment methods to enhance AD of OFMSW: (A) screw press; (B) disc screen; (C) shredder with magnet [53].

8.2. Economic feasibility the biogas production of FW, and obtained the best result
(1015 euro/ton FW) with less energy intensive methods (acid
As the pretreatment of OFMSW is relatively new, its cost esti- and freezethaw) [9]. However, they have not considered thermal
mation is still based on lab-scale level data. For instance, Ma pretreatment at lower temperatures, which could have been more
et al. estimated the net prot of various pretreatments to enhance economic.
152 J. Ariunbaatar et al. / Applied Energy 123 (2014) 143156

Fig. 2. A simplied scheme of Cambi THP: (A) cambi whole process; (B) detailed THP process. Source: Cambi ofcial website http://www.cambi.no.

The estimation of the economic feasibility of pretreatment However, the amount of sludge is an important factor to consider
methods based on a full-scale application has only been reported when estimating the pretreatment cost. Ultrasound pretreatment
for WWTP sludge. Rittman et al. estimated the operational and could be energetically feasible if a typical value of 6 kWh/m3
maintenance (OM) cost of a full-scale AD (3300 m3) treating sludge for a full-scale application is considered [138]. If a higher
380 m3 sludge per day based on the application of focused-pulsed energy is required, biological pretreatment such as adding hydro-
pretreatment technology, which could generate a benet of lytic bacteria could be a cheaper option [57,139].
540,000 USD per year [137]. Muller reported that a rough cost The cost estimation of conventional biological pretreatment has
estimate of pretreatment methods is between 70 and 150 US$/ not been reported to date. The economical feasibility of a two-stage
tonTS for capital and OM cost [33]. Bordeleau and Droste esti- AD were estimated by Bolzonella et al., who reported that the pay
mated the cost of pretreatment methods to enhance the AD of back time for a full-scale two-stage AD system with hyper-thermo-
sludge, based on the existing literature. They concluded that philic pre-stage followed by mesophilic reactor is 26 years
the microwave (0.0162 US$/m3) and conventional thermal depending on the method of sludge disposal [140].
(0.0187 US$/m3) pretreatments were cheaper than ultrasound In addition to the calculation of net benets, local circum-
(0.0264 US$/m3) and chemical (0.0358 US$/m3) methods [22]. stances such as labor, treatment capacity, transport, collection cost,
J. Ariunbaatar et al. / Applied Energy 123 (2014) 143156 153

Fig. 3. A simplied scheme of two-stage AD [83]. Source: Adapted from Ge et al. [95]

Table 3
Sustainability evaluation of pretreatment methods to enhance OFMSW.

Pretreatment Method Efciency Energy requirement and economic cost Environmental impact
Mechanical +++ ++ +
Thermal at high temperatures (>110 C) + + +++
Thermal at low temperatures (<110 C) +++ +++ +++
Conventional biological methods (enzyme addition, composting etc.) + +++ +++
Two-stage AD (anaerobic pre-hydrolysis) +++ +++ +++
Chemical +++ + +
Thermochemical +++ + +

energy prices, tax, purchase tariffs, land price, market, price of di- most sustainable methods to enhance the AD of OFMSW, followed
gested material, disposal of residue, additional mixing and pump- by conventional biological methods and mechanical pretreatment.
ing should be considered as well [4,5,61,132,141146]. Chemical, thermochemical or thermal pretreatment methods at
high temperatures could result in a higher enhancement of the
8.3. Environmental aspects and sustainability of pretreatment AD process as compared to untreated substrates. However, the
methods costs of the methods as well as the environmental considerations
make it less desirable.
In addition to the energy balance and economic analysis, envi-
ronmental consideration such as pathogen removal, use of chemi-
9. Conclusion
cals, and the possibility for a sustainable use of the residues,
impacts on human health and the environment should be consid-
The growing global concerns on the increasing amount of waste,
ered as well when choosing a pretreatment method
energy demand, and global warming have stimulated research on
[4,22,133,141149]. Moreover, the anaerobic residues have the
the acceleration and enhancement of the AD process. Pretreatment
possibility to be used as soil fertilizers. Thus, the soil type as well
methods can be categorized as mechanical, thermal, chemical, bio-
as the potential gaseous emissions such as N2O should be consid-
logical or a combination of them. Among the widely reported pre-
ered [147]. Carballa et al. evaluated the environmental aspects of
treatment methods tested at lab scale, only few mechanical,
different pretreatment methods including chemical (acidic and
thermal and thermochemical methods were successfully applied
alkaline), pressurize-depressurize, ozonation and thermal treat-
at full scale. Based on a simple sustainability assessment, thermal
ment in terms of Abiotic Resources Depletion Potential, Eutrophi-
pretreatment (at low temperatures) and two-stage AD systems of-
cation Potential, Global Warming Potential, Human and
fer more advantages as compared to the other pretreatment meth-
Terrestrial Toxicity Potential through a life cycle assessment. They
ods. These include: (i) higher biogas yield; (ii) decisive effect on
concluded that the pressurize-depressurize and chemical pretreat-
pathogen removal; (iii) reduction of digestate amount; (iv) reduc-
ment methods outperformed ozonation, freezethaw and thermal
tion of the retention time; (v) better energy balance and (vi) better
methods [36].
economical feasibility.
Table 3 gives a simple sustainability assessment of pretreat-
ment methods to enhance OFMSW was carried out based on exist-
ing literature. Pretreatment methods with higher efciencies, and Acknowledgements
that are more economically as well as environmental friendly
methods obtained more plus points. The pretreatment methods This research was nancially supported by Erasmus Mundus
with the most number of plus points were evaluated as the most Joint Doctoral Program on ETECOS3 (Environmental Technologies
sustainable. Table 3 shows that the thermal pretreatment at low for Contaminated Solids, Soils and Sediments) under the EU Grant
temperature and the two-stage AD system were assessed as the agreement FPA No. 2010-0009. This research was also conducted in
154 J. Ariunbaatar et al. / Applied Energy 123 (2014) 143156

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