WIT Press

Volatile Organic Compounds Released From Thermal Drying Of Sewage Sludge


Free (open access)





Page Range

425 - 433




351 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


M. F. Gomez-Rico, A. Fullana & R. Font


Thermal drying of sewage sludge is a treatment to obtain a material that can be used as co-fuel for some chemical industries, but some volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be emitted and consequently must be considered. In this work the emissions of these VOCs were studied. The sewage sludge produced by a domestic water treatment plant was dried in a simple laboratory scale distillation/evaporation apparatus at different temperatures (80, 90, 100 and 120 ºC). The sludge was heated and a flow of air released water and volatile compounds. The water was condensed and separated, and the VOCs were analysed in the resultant gas fraction. More than forty compounds were identified and the total yield ranged from 545 to 591 mg kg-1 dry weight, without significant differences for the temperatures used. The compounds with the highest yields were dimethyl disulfide, toluene, dimethyl trisulfide and 1,2,4- trimethylbenzene, with great differences in yields from the rest of the compounds found. Between the compounds identified, several types were found: aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, halogenated or not, and compounds with sulphur. Since most of the identified VOCs are carcinogenic, toxic or harmful by inhalation, there is a need to control the emitted gases from thermal drying. Keywords: VOCs, thermal drying, sewage sludge, temperature. 1 Introduction The sewage sludge that leaves the wastewater treatment plant has a high content of water (up to 90%). The elimination of this water means a great reduction in volume that involves lower costs of transport and dumping of the sludge. Moreover, mechanical dehydration by filter press, centrifuges, etc. is not always enough to satisfy the environmental regulations and use the sludge for energy


VOCs, thermal drying, sewage sludge, temperature.