Use of biogas for cogeneration of heat and electricity for local application: performance evaluation of an engine power generator and a sludge thermal dryer

L. C. S. Lobato, C. A. L. Chernicharo, F. J. P. Pujatti, O. M. Martins, G. C. B. Melo and A. A. R. Recio, 2013

A small unit of cogeneration of energy and heat was tested at the Centre for Research and Training on Sanitation UFMG/COPASA – CePTS, located at the Arrudas Sewage Treatment Plant, in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The unit consisted of an engine power generator adapted to run on biogas, a thermal dryer prototype and other peripherals (compressor, biogas storage tank, air blower, etc.). The heat from engine power generator exhaust gases was directed towards the thermal dryer prototype to dry the sludge and disinfect it. The results showed that the experimental apparatus is self-sufficient in electricity, even producing a surplus, available for other uses. The tests of drying and disinfection of sludge lasted 7 h, leading to an increase in solids content from 4 to 8% (50% reduction in sludge volume). Although the drying of sludge was not possible (only thickening was achieved), the disinfection process proved very effective, enabling the complete inactivation of helminth eggs.

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