Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 660–669 | Cite as

Proposed EU legislation to force changes in sewage sludge disposal: A case study

  • Vojtěch TurekEmail author
  • Bohuslav Kilkovský
  • Zdeněk Jegla
  • Petr Stehlík
Research Article


The consequences of changes planned in the European Union legislation relevant to the disposal of sewage sludges are discussed. A specific municipal waste water treatment plant is analyzed in terms of drying and subsequent combustion or pyrolysis of the produced stabilized sludge, and the respective net energy balances are carried out. A simplified economic analysis of the two disposal options is presented, which suggest that combustion of the sludge would be economically infeasible while pyrolysis of the sludge in a modular, self-sufficient container unit can bring a small financial benefit due to the selling of the produced phosphorus-rich biochar.


sewage sludge drying combustion pyrolysis 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic within the “National Sustainability Programme I” project No. LO1202 “NETME CENTRE PLUS”.


  1. 1.
    Zhang L, Xu C, Champagne P, Mabee W. Overview of current biological and thermo-chemical treatment technologies for sustainable sludge management. Waste Management & Research, 2014, 32 (7): 586–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Barber W P F. Thermal hydrolysis for sewage treatment: A critical review. Water Research, 2016, 104: 53–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ding H H, Chang S, Liu Y. Biological hydrolysis pretreatment on secondary sludge: Enhancement of anaerobic digestion and mechanism study. Bioresource Technology, 2017, 244: 989–995CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Thornley P, Adams P. Greenhouse Gas Balances of Bioenergy Systems. Cambridge: Academic Press, 2017, 152Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Wołejko E, Wydro U, Jabłońska-Trypuć A, Butarewicz A, Łoboda T. The effect of sewage sludge fertilization on the concentration of PAHs in urban soils. Environmental Pollution, 2018, 232: 347–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Fuentes D, Valdecantos A, Cortina J, Vallejo V R. Seedling performance in sewage sludge-amended degraded Mediterranean woodlands. Ecological Engineering, 2007, 31(4): 281–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bianchini A, Bonfiglioli L, Pellegrini M, Saccani C. Sewage sludge drying process integration with a waste-to-energy power plant. Waste Management (New York, N.Y.), 2015, 42: 159–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Donatello S, Cheeseman C R. Recycling and recovery routes for incinerated sewage sludge ash (ISSA): A review. Waste Management (New York, N.Y.), 2013, 33(11): 2328–2340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Arlabosse P, Chavez S, Lecomte D. Method for thermal design of paddle dryers: Application to municipal sewage sludge. Drying Technology, 2004, 22(10): 2375–2393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Li Y, Wang H, Zhang J, Wang J, Ouyang L. The industrial practice of co-processing sewage sludge in cement kiln. Procedia Environmental Sciences, 2012, 16: 628–632CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Council Directive 86/278/EEC of 12 June 1986 on the protection of the environment, and in particular of the soil, when sewage sludge is used in agriculture. Official Journal L 181(04/07/1986): 6–12Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Regulation (EC) No 2003/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 relating to fertilisers. Official Journal L 304(21/11/2003): 1–194Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Chun Y N, Lim M S, Yoshikawa K. Development of a highefficiency rotary dryer for sewage sludge. Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management, 2012, 14(1): 65–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Huang Y W, Chen M Q, Jia L. Assessment on thermal behavior of municipal sewage sludge thin-layer during hot air forced convective drying. Applied Thermal Engineering, 2016, 96: 209–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ameri B, Hanini S, Benhamou A, Chibane D. Comparative approach to the performance of direct and indirect solar drying of sludge from sewage plants, experimental and theoretical evaluation. Solar Energy, 2018, 159: 722–732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Mawioo P M, Garcia H A, Hooijmans C M, Velkushanova K, Simonič M, Mijatović I, Brdjanovic D. A pilot-scale microwave technology for sludge sanitization and drying. Science of the Total Environment, 2017, 601-602: 1437–1448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Chen J, Deng Z, Chen W, Lyu L, Wang F. Comparative study on drying characteristics of sewage sludge in two kinds of indirect heat drying equipment. In: Aissaoui A G, Chen B Y, Park E, eds. Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Sustainable Development. Paris: Atlantis Press, 2016, 9–13Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Li S, Li Y, Lu Q, Zhu J, Yao Y, Bao S. Integrated drying and incineration of wet sewage sludge in combined bubbling and circulating fluidized bed units. Waste Management (New York, N. Y.), 2014, 34(12): 2561–2566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ha S A, Kim D K, Wang J P. Sludge moisture reduction based on MRT and hold-up estimation method using hot-air belt-type conveyor dryer. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Technology and Industrial Automation. Lancaster: DEStech Publications, Inc., 2015, 591–599Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Louarn S, Ploteau J P, Glouannec P, Noel H. Experimental and numerical study of flat plate sludge drying at low temperature by convection and direct conduction. Drying Technology, 2014, 32 (14): 1664–1674CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Werther J, Ogada T. Sewage sludge combustion. Progress in Energy and Combustion Science, 1999, 25(1): 55–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ma J, Zhang L, Li A. Energy-efficient co-biodrying of dewatered sludge and food waste: Synergistic enhancement and variables investigation.Waste Management (New York, N.Y.), 2016, 56: 411–422Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Appels L, Baeyens J, Degrève J, Dewil R. Principles and potential of the anaerobic digestion of waste-activated sludge. Progress in Energy and Combustion Science, 2008, 34(6): 755–781CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Sassi H P, Ikner L A, Abd-Elmaksoud S, Gerba C P, Pepper I L. Comparative survival of viruses during thermophilic and mesophilic anaerobic digestion. Science of the Total Environment, 2018, 615: 15–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Hosseini S E, Barzegaravval H,WahidMA, Ganjehkaviri A, SiesM M. Thermodynamic assessment of integrated biogas-based micropower generation system. Energy Conversion and Management, 2016, 128: 104–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Higgins M J, Beightol S, Mandahar U, Suzuki R, Xiao S, Lu H W, Le T, Mah J, Pathak B, DeClippeleir H, Novak J T, Al-Omari A, Murthy S N. Pretreatment of a primary and secondary sludge blend at different thermal hydrolysis temperatures: Impacts on anaerobic digestion, dewatering and filtrate characteristics. Water Research, 2017, 122: 557–569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Bougrier C, Delgenès J P, Carrère H. Effects of thermal treatments on five different waste activated sludge samples solubilisation, physical properties and anaerobic digestion. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2008, 139(2): 236–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Fonts I, Juan A, Gea G, Murillo M B, Sánchez J L. Sewage sludge pyrolysis in fluidized bed, 1: Influence of operational conditions on the product distribution. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2008, 47(15): 5376–5385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Jaramillo-Arango A, Fonts I, Chejne F, Arauzo J. Product compositions from sewage sludge pyrolysis in a fluidized bed and correlations with temperature. Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis, 2016, 121: 287–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Fonts I, Juan A, Gea G, Murillo M B, Arauzo J. Sewage sludge pyrolysis in a fluidized bed. 2: Influence of operating conditions on some physicochemical properties of the liquid product. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2009, 48(4): 2179–2187Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Arazo R O, Genuino D A D, de Luna M D G, Capareda S C. Bio-oil production from dry sewage sludge by fast pyrolysis in an electrically-heated fluidized bed reactor. Sustainable Environment Research, 2017, 27(1): 7–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Han R, Zhao C, Liu J, Chen A, Wang H. Thermal characterization and syngas production from the pyrolysis of biophysical dried and traditional thermal dried sewage sludge. Bioresource Technology, 2015, 198: 276–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Frišták V, Pipíška M, Soja G. Pyrolysis treatment of sewage sludge: A promising way to produce phosphorus fertilizer. Journal of Cleaner Production, 2018, 172: 1772–1778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Directive 2010/75/EU of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control). Official Journal L 334 (17/12/2010): 17–119Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Niessen WR. Combustion and Incineration Processes: Applications in Environmental Engineering. 4th ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2010, 5–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Thomsen T P, Sárossy Z, Gøbel B, Stoholm P, Ahrenfeldt J, Frandsen F J, Henriksen U B. Low temperature circulating fluidized bed gasification and co-gasification of municipal sewage sludge. Part 1: Process performance and gas product characterization.Waste Management (New York, N.Y.), 2017, 66: 123–133Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Ding W, Li L, Liu J. Investigation of the effects of temperature and sludge characteristics on odors and VOC emissions during the drying process of sewage sludge. Water Science and Technology, 2015, 72(4): 543–552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Tontti T, Poutiainen H, Heinonen-Tanski H. Efficiently treated sewage sludge supplemented with nitrogen and potassium is a good fertilizer for cereals. Land Degradation & Development, 2017, 28 (2): 742–751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Sun Y, Jin B S, Huang Y J, Zuo W, Jia J Q,Wang Y Y. Distribution and characteristics of products from pyrolysis of sewage sludge. Advanced Materials Research, 2013, 726-731: 2885–2893CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Agarwal M, Tardio J, Venkata Mohan S. Pyrolysis of activated sludge: Energy analysis and its technical feasibility. Bioresource Technology, 2015, 178: 70–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Gerber H, Scherer J, Sehn W, Siekmann K. Thermal Mineralization: Pyreg—A Method for Decentralized Sewage Sludge Treatment. BWK (Düsseldorf), 2010, 62: 55 (in German)Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Samolada M C, Zabaniotou A A. Comparative assessment of municipal sewage sludge incineration, gasification and pyrolysis for a sustainable sludge-to-energy management in Greece. Waste Management (New York, N.Y.), 2014, 34(2): 411–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Ashwekar P, Jiang Y, Pan H. Feasibility study of energy recovery by incineration—a case study of the triangle wastewater treatment plant. Dissertation of the Master Degree. Durham: Duke University, 2017, 22–24Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Sundberg E. Review of advanced pyrolysis processes with lignocellulosic feedstock—technical solutions and market conditions. Dissertation for the Master’s Degree. Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2017, 56 (in Swedish)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vojtěch Turek
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bohuslav Kilkovský
    • 1
  • Zdeněk Jegla
    • 1
  • Petr Stehlík
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Process Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical EngineeringBrno University of TechnologyBrnoCzech Republic

Personalised recommendations