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Science of The Total Environment
Volume 817, 2022, 152950

Role and significance of water and acid washing on biochar for regulating methane production from waste activated sludge

Hong-Yu Jina,b, Zhang-Wei Hea,b, Yong-Xiang Rena,b, Wen-Jing Yanga,b

Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Environmental Engineering, School of Environmental and Municipal Engineering, Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology, Xi'an 710055, China.


Methane recovered from anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge (WAS) can be used as the energy supplement of the wastewater treatment plant, benefiting to its carbon-neutral operation. In order to enhance methane production, biochar (BC) has been widely selected as conductive material to build direct interspecies electron transfer (DIET) in anaerobic digestion of WAS. However, the role and significance of washing strategies, including water and acid washing, on BCs for regulating methane production have not been reported. This study selected the frequently used woody- (W) and straw (S)-BCs as mode. Compared to raw W-BC, water and acid washing W-BC increased the methane yields by 19.1% and 15.7%, respectively. Differently, the methane yields among raw, water and acid washing S-BCs were similar. Mechanism study showed that both the two washing strategies optimized the properties of raw W-BC for promoting methane production. Water and acid washing W-BCs increased the electron transfer functional groups, such as ketones and quinones, which were not observed in S-BCs. Moreover, the electron-active microorganisms were enriched with the presence of water and acid washing W-BCs, and the predominant pathway for methane production shifted from hydrogentrophic to acetotrophic and DIET methanogenesis, while the microbial communities, including bacteria and archaea, were similar with the presence of raw, water and acid washing S-BCs. These findings of this work provide some new insights for production improvement regulation of methane from anaerobic digestion of wastes induced by BCs.

Keywords: Anaerobic digestion, Waste activated sludge, Biochar, Washing strategy, Direct interspecies electron transfer.

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