A research group led by Professor Byong-hun Jeon at Hanyang University has shown that anaerobic co-digestion of fat, oil, and grease (FOG) is an effective and economical technique, with better biomethanation yield in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), than anaerobic digestion.
Anaerobic digestion is a process where a microbiome transforms organic materials, such as wastewater sludge, into biomethane in the absence of oxygen. This process, also known as biomethanation, reduces the amount of sludge sent to landfill disposal. Anaerobic co-digestion of FOG uses extra lipid waste, which enhances the biogas yield. The new research introduced partial pretreatment of FOG, and used a specially created microbiome. Municipal WWTPs can deploy the new anaerobic co-digestion technique with existing facilities, bringing benefits where electricity costs are high and residual disposal costs are low.
In an interview with H-News, Prof. Jeon said, “The bioenergy coming from sludge and FOG can replace this portable energy source [of fossil fuels]. Basically, this energy can do what any other eco-friendly energy cannot do.”