Agro-food industries produce large amounts of wastes challenging innovative and efficient valorisation strategies promoting the circular bioeconomy concept. Anaerobic digestion technology is an interesting route for bioenergy recovery in the agro-food chain sector. In this work, a simple approach is proposed for assessing energy performance of livestock manure and mixed sewage sludge, as substrate by coupling the potential addition of several agro-food biowastes (co-substrate: fruit and vegetable biowastes, fish canning industry, other manures, coffee wastes, and non-edible crops). The results obtained showed an increase of energy performance indicator ranging from 30 to 250% and 62 to 539%, for livestock manure and mixed sewage sludge, respectively. This conceptual approach for feedstocks promotes the circular bioeconomy as it encourages the stakeholders to a smart use of anaerobic biotechnology at rural-level or urban-level.
Olive mill wastewater (OMW) results from the production of olive oil, which is an important traditional agro-industry in Mediterranean countries. In continuous three-phase centrifugation 1.0-1.2 m(3) of OMW are produced per ton of processed olives. Discharge of OMW is of serious environmental concern due to its high content of organic matter with phytotoxic properties, namely phenolic compounds. Meanwhile, drinking water treatment sludge (DWTS) is produced in high amounts and has long been considered as a waste for landfill. The aim of this work was the assessment of reusing DWTS for OMW treatment. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis was carried out to determine the phenolic compounds present and to evaluate if they are recalcitrant. Treatability assays were performed using a dosage of DWTS from 50 to 300 g L(-1). Treatment efficiency was evaluated based on the removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), total solids (TS), total suspended solids (TSS), total volatile solids (TVS), oil and grease (OG), phenols (total phosphorous (TP) and HPLC fraction). Results from OMW HPLC characterization identified a total of 13 compounds; the major ones were hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, caffeic acid, p-cumaric acid and oleuropein. Treatability assays led to a maximum reduction of about 90% of some of the phenolic compounds determined by HPLC. Addition of 200-300 g L(-1) of DWTS reduced 40-50% of COD, 45-50% of TP, a maximum of nearly 70% TSS and 45% for TS and TVS. The OG fraction showed a reduction of about 90%, achieved adding 300 g L(-1) od DWTS. This study points out the possibility of establishing an integrated management of OMW and DWTS, contributing to a decrease in the environmental impact of two industrial activities, olive oil production and drinking water treatment.
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