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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Impacts of temperature and hydraulic retention tie on odours produced from authothermal thermophilic aerobic digestion Parsons, Bonita Grace


Five different combinations of Hydraulic Retention Times (HRT) and temperatures were used in a two stage (feed and test reactor) Autothermal Thermophilic Aerobic Digestion System to assess the impact of these parameters on the production of odorous gases. The gases monitored were hydrogen sulphide, dimethyl sulphide, methyl mercaptan, ammonia, and amines. Other liquid parameters were also monitored in order to better understand the impacts of temperature and HRT. These parameters are total solids content, volatile solids content, volatile solids destruction, specific oxygen uptake rate, alkalinity, ammonia concentration, and pH. In order to assess the character of the sludge and understand the digestion process the carbohydrate, fat, and protein content were also measured in the inputs and in the test reactor. It was found that all of the odorous compounds measured were affected by stage of digestion and temperature more than by HRT. Of the five compounds monitored, none were affected by changes in the HRT of the test reactor. However, the concentrations measured in the feed and test reactors were often a degree of magnitude apart. The reduced sulphur compounds (hydrogen sulphide, methyl mercaptan, and dimethyl sulphide) were found in higher concentrations in the feed reactor than in the test reactor; whereas ammonia and amines were found in much higher concentrations in the test reactor than in the feed reactor. Also, ammonia concentrations were significantly higher in both reactors when the temperature was higher; and amine concentration was higher in the test reactor when the temperature was higher. One set of tests for volatile fatty acid concentration was also undertaken. While breakdown of the carbohydrates and fats occurred throughout the process, proteins were broken down into their amino acids, releasing reduced sulphur compounds in the feed reactor and then deaminated, releasing ammonia and amines in the test reactor.

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