Our new title Sludge Thermal Hydrolysis: Application and Potential is now available in both paperback and eBook format!

This book, aimed at students and practitioners alike, describes the development of the technology, and highlights the design and economics by means of examples. Benefits and challenges related to thermal hydrolysis are also characterized alongside selected case-studies and ideas for future applications.

Dr William (Bill) Barber has had a keen interest in thermal hydrolysis for numerous years and was instrumental in the development of Europe's largest facility as well as advising water utilities, consultants, researchers and government organizations on its potential to modernize wastewater treatment.

We asked Bill some questions about the research behind the title and the finished book, see his responses below! Find out more about the title or order your copy here.

Please could you give a summary of the key points in the book? 

Thermal hydrolysis is a way to manipulate sewage sludge created from municipal wastewater treatment. It is especially effective on the sludge produced from the activated sludge process.  By changing the sludge properties, the costs and environmental impact of sludge management are reduced regardless of the eventual outcome for the biosolids produced. Subsequently, there has been growing interest in the technology to enhance anerobic digestion and it is quickly becoming a mainstream operation.

The aim of the book is to provide a resource where the interested reader can gain an appreciation for the benefits and challenges of applying the technology within a wider sludge management context. The book looks at development of, design, theoretical impacts, operational experience, benefits, case-studies, economics and future applications of thermal hydrolysis. Based on increasing interest within the industry, some areas are specifically highlighted, such as the influence  on anaerobic digestion inclusive of ammonia toxicity and microbiome response, production and treatment of return liquors from dewatering, generation and management of refractory compounds,  start-up of digestion systems, and characterization of biosolids produced from the process.

What did you most enjoy about the research for the book?

I enjoyed researching for the book and learnt a great deal, particularly when reading in fields which are not associated directly with wastewater treatment. I find it always useful to have an appreciation for  research outside of your own field of interest, as you get different perspectives and ideas for addressing issues or challenges, and in many cases you realize that other fields have been doing research for a long time on aspects which are only just now being looked at in your own industry. After researching for this book, I would recommend interested readers to investigate the fields of heat and mass transfer, fluid mechanics and food processing. It was also pleasing to see the recent increase in research in thermal hydrolysis coming largely from China, looking at future applications of the technology. There has been a lot of work there looking at combining the technology with thermal processing, advanced digestion systems which until recently have been more common for treating industrial rather than municipal wastewaters, extracting new products from biosolids. Furthermore, it was good to see new studies looking to gain further insight into the fate of contaminants, antibiotic resistance and microbial response during anaerobic digestion when combined with thermal hydrolysis.

Who would it be especially relevant to?

Whilst the book is about thermal hydrolysis as a treatment to complement anaerobic digestion, it is difficult to separate the subject matter from wider sludge management framework. Therefore, the book is a good introduction into sludge management in a wider context looking at the issues associated with the processing and management of activated sludge, benefits of anaerobic digestion and uses of treated biosolids. The intention of the book is to enable students and practitioners alike, to gain a strong basis with which to understand the technology and its context in wider sludge management,  to be able to undertake mass and energy balances, and appreciate the benefits and influences of the technology on sludge management, whilst being aware of potential challenges.




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