Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 16, pp 16537–16547 | Cite as

Dewaterability enhancement and heavy metals immobilization by pig manure biochar addition during hydrothermal treatment of sewage sludge

  • Shengyu Xie
  • Guangwei YuEmail author
  • Chunxing Li
  • Futian You
  • Jie Li
  • Renqiang Tian
  • Gang Wang
  • Yin WangEmail author
Research Article


Hydrothermal treatment (HTT) of sewage sludge (SS) with pig manure biochar (PMB) addition at 160–200 °C was conducted in this study. The effects of PMB addition on the dewaterability of SS and the speciation evolution, leaching toxicity, and potential ecological risk of heavy metals were investigated. The results showed that the solid contents of the filter cakes after adding PMB increased from 20.24%, 24.03%, and 28.69% to 21.57%, 27.69%, and 32.91% at 160, 180, and 200 °C, respectively, compared with traditional HTT of SS. Furthermore, PMB could reduce the bioavailable fractions of Cr, Ni, As, and Cd in the filter cakes obtained at 160 and 180 °C compared with the theoretical value. The leaching toxicity of heavy metals in the filter cakes after adding PMB decreased significantly at 160 and 180 °C and the potential ecological risk index (RI) declined from 62.13 and 44.83 to 55.93 and 42.11, respectively. The obtained filter cake had low potential ecological risk when used in the environment. The mechanisms on the improvement of the dewaterability and heavy metals immobilization were related that PMB acted as the skeleton builder providing the outflow path for free water and implanting heavy metals into SS structure. And the optimal results were obtained at 180 °C during HTT of SS with PMB addition. This work provides a novel and effective method for the treatment of SS.


Sewage sludge Hydrothermal treatment Pig manure biochar Dewaterability Heavy metals Skeleton builder 



Hydrothermal treatment


Sewage sludge


Pig manure biochar


European Community Bureau of Reference


Exchangeable fraction


Reducible fraction


Oxidisable fraction


Residual fraction


Toxicity characteristic leaching procedure


Funding information

This work was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA23020500), the Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province (2019J01135), the China-Japanese Research Cooperative Program (2016YFE0118000), the Industry Leading Key Projects of Fujian Province (2015H0044), the Scientific and Technological Major Special Project of Tianjin City (16YFXTSF00420) and the Key Project of Young Talent of the Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IUEZD201402).


  1. Ahmad M, Rajapaksha AU, Lim JE, Zhang M, Bolan N, Mohan D, Vithanage M, Lee SS, Ok YS (2014) Biochar as a sorbent for contaminant management in soil and water: a review. Chemosphere 99:19–33. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Antonkiewicz J, Pełka R, Bik-Małodzińska M, Żukowska G, Gleń-Karolczyk K (2018) The effect of cellulose production waste and municipal sewage sludge on biomass and heavy metal uptake by a plant mixture. Environ Sci Pollut R 25:31101–31112. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Appels L, Baeyens J, Degrève J, Dewil R (2008) Principles and potential of the anaerobic digestion of waste-activated sludge. Prog Energy Combust 34:755–781. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cai C, Liu HL, Wang MM (2017) Characterization of antibiotic mycelial residue (AMR) dewatering performance with microwave treatment. Chemosphere 174:20–27. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen H, Yan SH, Ye ZL, Meng HJ, Zhu YG (2012) Utilization of urban sewage sludge: Chinese perspectives. Environ Sci Pollut R 19:1454–1463. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chevalier F, Chobert JM, Popineau Y, Nicolas MG, Haertlé T (2001) Improvement of functional properties of β-lactoglobulin glycated through the Maillard reaction is related to the nature of the sugar. Int Dairy J 11:145–152. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dou XM, Chen DZ, Hu YY, Feng YH, Dai XH (2017) Carbonization of heavy metal impregnated sewage sludge oriented towards potential co-disposal. J Hazard Mater 321:132–145. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fuentes A, Lloréns M, Sáez J, Isabel Aguilar MA, Ortuño JF, Meseguer VF (2008) Comparative study of six different sludges by sequential speciation of heavy metals. Bioresour Technol 99:517–525. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hua L, Wu WX, Liu YX, Mcbride M, Chen YX (2009) Reduction of nitrogen loss and Cu and Zn mobility during sludge composting with bamboo charcoal amendment. Environ Sci Pollut R 16:1–9. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Huang HJ, Yuan XZ (2016) The migration and transformation behaviors of heavy metals during the hydrothermal treatment of sewage sludge. Bioresour Technol 200:991–998. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jin JW, Li YN, Zhang JY, Wu SC, Cao YC, Liang P, Zhang J, Wong MH, Wang MY, Shan SD, Christie P (2016) Influence of pyrolysis temperature on properties and environmental safety of heavy metals in biochars derived from municipal sewage sludge. J Hazard Mater 320:417–426. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Leng LJ, Yuan XZ, Huang HJ, Jiang HW, Chen XH, Zeng GM (2014) The migration and transformation behavior of heavy metals during the liquefaction process of sewage sludge. Bioresour Technol 167:144–150. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Li J, Liu X, Liu Y, Ramsay J, Yao CC, Dai RH (2011) The effect of continuous exposure of copper on the properties and extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) of bulking activated sludge. Environ Sci Pollut R 18:1567–1573. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Li CX, Wang XD, Zhang GY, Yu GW, Lin JJ, Wang Y (2017) Hydrothermal and alkaline hydrothermal pretreatments plus anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge for dewatering and biogas production: bench-scale research and pilot-scale verification. Water Res 117:49–57. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Li CX, Wang XD, Zhang GY, Li J, Li ZW, Yu GW, Wang Y (2018a) A process combining hydrothermal pretreatment, anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis for sewage sludge dewatering and co-production of biogas and biochar: Pilot-scale verification. Bioresour Technol 254:187–193. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Li J, Yu GW, Xie SY, Pan LJ, Li CX, You FT, Wang Y (2018b) Immobilization of heavy metals in ceramsite produced from sewage sludge biochar. Sci Total Environ 628–629:131–140. Google Scholar
  17. Liu H, Yang JK, Zhu NR, Zhang H, Li Y, He S, Yang CZ, Yao H (2013) A comprehensive insight into the combined effects of Fenton’s reagent and skeleton builders on sludge deep dewatering performance. J Hazard Mater 258–259:144–150. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mikkelsen LH (2003) Applications and limitations of the colloid titration method for measuring activated sludge surface charges. Water Res 37:2458–2466. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Neyens E, Baeyens J, Creemers C (2003) Alkaline thermal sludge hydrolysis. J Hazard Mater 97:295–314. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Neyens E, Baeyens J, Dewil R, De heyder B (2004) Advanced sludge treatment affects extracellular polymeric substances to improve activated sludge dewatering. J Hazard Mater 106:83–92. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ščančar J, Milačič R, Stražar M, Burica O (2000) Total metal concentrations and partitioning of Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni and Zn in sewage sludge. Sci Total Environ 250:9–19. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Shi WS, Liu CG, Ding DH, Lei ZF, Yang YN, Feng CP, Zhang ZY (2013a) Immobilization of heavy metals in sewage sludge by using subcritical water technology. Bioresour Technol 137:18–24. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Shi WS, Liu CG, Shu YJ, Feng CP, Lei ZF, Zhang ZY (2013b) Synergistic effect of rice husk addition on hydrothermal treatment of sewage sludge: fate and environmental risk of heavy metals. Bioresour Technol 149:496–502. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Suanon F, Chi QQ, Yang XY, Wang HJ, Rashid A, Asefi B, Mama D, Yu CP, Sun Q (2018) Diagnosis and ecotoxicological risk assessment of 49 elements in sludge from wastewater treatment plants of Chongqing and Xiamen cities, China. Environ Sci Pollut R 25:29006–29,016. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tsai WT, Liu SC, Chen HR, Chang YM, Tsai YL (2012) Textural and chemical properties of swine-manure-derived biochar pertinent to its potential use as a soil amendment. Chemosphere 89:198–203. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wang XD, Li CX, Zhang B, Lin JJ, Chi QQ, Wang Y (2016) Migration and risk assessment of heavy metals in sewage sludge during hydrothermal treatment combined with pyrolysis. Bioresour Technol 221:560–567. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wang T, Sun HW, Ren XH, Li B, Mao HJ (2017) Evaluation of biochars from different stock materials as carriers of bacterial strain for remediation of heavy metal-contaminated soil. Sci Rep 7(12114).
  28. Wang XD, Chi QQ, Liu XJ, Wang Y (2019) Influence of pyrolysis temperature on characteristics and environmental risk of heavy metals in pyrolyzed biochar made from hydrothermally treated sewage sludge. Chemosphere 216:698–706. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Weiner B, Baskyr I, Poerschmann J, Kopinke FD (2013) Potential of the hydrothermal carbonization process for the degradation of organic pollutants. Chemosphere 92:674–680. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wu Y, Zhang PY, Zeng GM, Ye J, Zhang HB, Fang W, Liu JB (2016) Enhancing sewage sludge dewaterability by a skeleton builder: biochar produced from sludge cake conditioned with rice husk flour and FeCl3. ACS Sustain Chem Eng 4:5711–5717. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Xu XY, Cao XD, Zhao L, Wang HL, Yu HR, Gao B (2013a) Removal of Cu, Zn, and Cd from aqueous solutions by the dairy; manure-derived biochar. Environ Sci Pollut R 20:358–368. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Xu XY, Cao XD, Zhao L (2013b) Comparison of rice husk- and dairy manure-derived biochars for simultaneously removing heavy metals from aqueous solutions: role of mineral components in biochars. Chemosphere 92:955–961. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Xu XY, Cao XD, Zhao L, Sun TH (2014) Comparison of sewage sludge- and pig manure-derived biochars for hydrogen sulfide removal. Chemosphere 111:296–303. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Yu J, Guo MH, Xu XH, Guan BH (2014) The role of temperature and CaCl2 in activated sludge dewatering under hydrothermal treatment. Water Res 50:10–17. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Yu GW, Wang Y, Zhang X, Tang XD, Li J, Yu Z, Wang XD, You FT (2016) Influence of sludge and sludge biochar on the transfer of available heavy metals in soil. J Solid Waste Technol Manage 42:814–823Google Scholar
  36. Zhai YB, Chen HM, Xu BB, Xiang BB, Chen Z, Li CT, Zeng GM (2014) Influence of sewage sludge-based activated carbon and temperature on the liquefaction of sewage sludge: yield and composition of bio-oil, immobilization and risk assessment of heavy metals. Bioresour Technol 159:72–79. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zhai YB, Liu XM, Zhu Y, Peng C, Wang TF, Zhu L, Li CT, Zeng GM (2016) Hydrothermal carbonization of sewage sludge: the effect of feed-water pH on fate and risk of heavy metals in hydrochars. Bioresour Technol 218:183–188. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zhang GY, Ma DC, Peng CN, Liu XX, Xu GW (2014) Process characteristics of hydrothermal treatment of antibiotic residue for solid biofuel. Chem Eng J 252:230–238. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zhang J, Tian Y, Zhang J, Li N, Kong L, Yu M, Zuo W (2017a) Distribution and risk assessment of heavy metals in sewage sludge after ozonation. Environ Sci Pollut R 24:5118–5125. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zhang QG, Hu JJ, Lee DJ, Chang YJ, Lee YJ (2017b) Sludge treatment: current research trends. Bioresour Technol 243:1159–1172. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zhu XM, Chen BL, Zhu LZ, Xing BS (2017) Effects and mechanisms of biochar-microbe interactions in soil improvement and pollution remediation: a review. Environ Pollut 227:98–115. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shengyu Xie
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guangwei Yu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chunxing Li
    • 1
  • Futian You
    • 1
  • Jie Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Renqiang Tian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gang Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yin Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Urban Pollutant Conversion, Institute of Urban EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXiamenChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations