Influence of thermal assistance on the biodegradation of organics during food waste bio-drying: Microbial stimulation and energy assessment.

Affiliation

Ma J(1), Mu L(2), Zhang Z(1), Wang Z(1), Kong W(1), Feng S(1), Li A(2), Shen B(3), Zhang L(4).
Author information:
(1)Tianjin Key Laboratory of Clean Energy and Pollution Control, School of Energy and Environmental Engineering, Hebei University of Technology, Tianjin, 300401, China.
(2)School of Environmental Science & Technology, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, 116024, Liaoning, China.
(3)Tianjin Key Laboratory of Clean Energy and Pollution Control, School of Energy and Environmental Engineering, Hebei University of Technology, Tianjin, 300401, China. Electronic address: [Email]
(4)School of Environmental Science & Technology, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, 116024, Liaoning, China. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Recently, bio-drying was highlighted in the drying pretreatment of high-moisture organic wastes for their energy recovery. In this study, to investigate the influences of thermal assistance on microbial stimulation and energy utilization in organic degradation, thermally assisted bio-drying (TB) was conducted on food waste (FW) and was compared with conventional bio-drying (CB) and thermal drying (TD). As expected, more water was removed in TB, which exhibited no lag phenomenon and intensified microbial activity. Corresponding with the stimulated enzyme activity, more readily degradable carbohydrates, lipids and lignocellulose were decomposed in TB than those in CB, and lipid degradation generated a significant proportion of the total bio-heat generated (43.13%-45.83%). Furthermore, according to the microbial analysis (qPCR and 16S rRNA gene sequencing), Bacillus was found to be the dominant genus involved in the degradation of organics during TB and CB. In the initial phase, rather than Weissella, as in CB, Ureibacillus was notable in TB for the degradation of readily degradable substrates. In the late phase, Pseudoxanthomonas and Saccharomonospora were enriched for degrading lignocellulose. In addition, heat balance and life-cycle energy assessment demonstrated that a small amount of thermal heat (11.96%) upgraded bio-drying with high energy efficiency. Compared with the CB and TD processes, the TB trial consumed less thermal energy (0.58 MJ/kg H2O) and achieved a higher energy output/input ratio (3.64). This research suggests that thermal assistance is a promising approach to enhancing FW bio-drying, which exhibits efficient drying performance and great potential for energy recovery.