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Kinetic study of pyrolysis of waste water treatment plant sludge

Lukáš Gašparovič, Ivan Hrablay, Zuzana Vojteková, and Ľudovít Jelemenský

Institute of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology, Slovak University of Technology, Radlinského 9, 812 37 Bratislava, Slovakia



Abstract: Activated sewage sludge samples obtained from two different waste water treatment plants were investigated by thermogravimetric analysis. Due to a very high content of water in the sludge samples, these had to be dried at 160°C in an electrical oven in order to remove all adsorbed water. To ensure pyrolysis conditions, nitrogen atmosphere was applied. The pyrolysis decomposition process was carried out in the temperature range from ambient temperature to 900°C at three different heating rates: 2 K min−1, 5 K min−1, 10 K min−1. TGA and DTG curves of the decomposition processes were obtained. Temperature of onset decomposition, final temperature of decomposition, maximum decomposition rate, and decomposition temperature were determined by thermogravimetric analysis for both sludge samples used. The main decomposition process takes place at temperatures in the range from 230°C to 500°C. Above this temperature, there are only small changes in the mass loss which are often attributed to the decomposition of carbonates present in the sewage sludge samples. To determine the apparent kinetic parameters such as the activation energy and the preexponential factor, the so called Friedman isoconversional method was used. Because of the requirements of this method, initial and final parts of the decomposition process, where crossings of the decomposition lines occurred, were cut off. Obtained dependencies of the apparent activation energies and preexponential factors as a function of conversion were used backwards to calculate the modeled decomposition process of sewage sludge and the experimental data were in good accordance with the data obtained by simulation.

Keywords: sewage sludge – pyrolysis – thermogravimetry – kinetic analysis

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-010-0081-z


Chemical Papers 65 (2) 139–146 (2011)

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