Cell cracking in anaerobic digestion provides an exciting opportunity for extracting additional energy from sludge and reducing OPEX. The true potential and impact of cell cracking technologies needs to be evaluated.
Due to the ever increasing cost of energy, sewerage companies experience constant pressure to reduce the net energy consumption of wastewater treatment. Cell cracking of anaerobic digestion feed sludges provides an opportunity to achieve this by breaking down cellular structures within the feed sludge to release further organic matter for digestion.
There is a need for a standardised evaluation of the available technologies and the independent validation of claims made by technology vendors.
Cell-cracking has the potential to:
- Reduce the net energy cost by increasing biogas production and hence energy generation by between 20% and 40%.
- Reduce OPEX by improving sludge thickening and dewatering and by more efficient sludge digestion. Together these could result in a 20% to 30% reduction in sludge volumes.
The project will use trials to independently assess available technologies. WRc will develop a standard trial protocol, oversee the initial setup and operational management of the trials, and review and validate the trial data. The trials will focus on establishing benefits and understanding the wider impacts of the application of cell cracking techniques.
WRc will facilitate a forum for project participants to meet and discuss the technologies,and for vendors to present their offerings.
WRc’s independence and experience will ensure standardised trials can produce objective evaluation of the available technologies. The use of full scale trials will provide direct data to inform investment decisions. Initial indications are that several vendors are willing to actively participate in the project.