Anaerobic Co-digestion of Urban Sewage Sludge with Agricultural Biomass

  • Pengfei Li
  • Chao He
  • Ran Yu
  • Dekui ShenEmail author
  • Youzhou JiaoEmail author
Original Paper


Three different types of urban sewage sludges (the mixed sludge, the dewatered secondary sludge and the sludge filtered by screens) were used for individual anaerobic digestion and co-digestion with agricultural biomass. The initial TS level (4%) and substrate to inoculum ratio (3:1) were maintained into all runs at mesophilic conditions, and the co-substrates was mixed at the recommended VS ratio of 1:1 (sludge: straw under the co-digestion conditions. It was found that the mixed sludge exhibited prominent anaerobic digestion performance, selected as a potential reagent for the co-digestion with biomass. The total volume of the produced methane from co-digestion of the mixed sludge and wheat stalk reached to 187.01 ± 3.27 mL g−1 VSadded, which was about 1.52 times higher than that from the individual digestion of the sludge. The experimental value of methane yield from co-digestion of the mixed sludge with wheat stalk is about 9.46% more than that of the estimated value, imply the enhanced interactions between the sludge and biomass during the co-digestion process. The pH of the co-digestion system of the mixed sludge and the wheat stalk was maintained at a relevant stable value around 6.50. It indicated that the buffering capacity of the digestion system could improved by adding the mixed sludge. The modified Gompertz model and the first-order kinetic model were proposed to simulate the co-digestion process between the mixed sludge and agricultural straw. The estimated kinetic parameters indicated that the maximum releasing rate of methane was significantly increased during the co-digestion process.

Graphic Abstract


Sewage sludge Corn straw Wheat stalk Co-digestion Methane 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51878145, 51676047 and 5181101221) and Key Project of Environmental Protection Research Program of Department of Ecology and Environment of Jiangsu Province, China (Grant No. 2017006), and Nanjing Science and Technology Planning Project of Nanjing Science and Technology Committee of Jiangsu Province, China (Grant No. 201716003).


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Energy Thermal Conversion and Control of Ministry of Education, School of Energy and EnvironmentSoutheast UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Mechanical and Electrical EngineeringHenan Agricultural UniversityZhengzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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