Anaerobic digestion of undiluted simulant human excreta for sanitation and energy recovery in less-developed countries


Journal Article

© 2015 The Authors. Improving access to sanitation is one of the most effective means to improve public health. Anaerobic digestion of high-strength undiluted human simulant excreta was investigated in laboratory systems. The focus was on demonstrating the suitability of using simple unmixed anaerobic digesters for the treatment of a simulant high-strength undiluted human excreta and to quantify the effects of high ammonia concentration on the biogas yield. A maximum biogas yield of 0.44NLbiogasg-1COD was obtained in batch experiments, while yields of 0.38 and 0.24NLbiogasg-1COD were obtained at 5 and 8g total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) L-1, respectively. Using an inoculum acclimated to high ammonia concentrations was critical to successful biogas production at these high TAN concentrations. Stable long-term anaerobic digestion of simulant human excreta at ammonia concentrations ranging from 5.20 to 7.15g-NL-1 was obtained in a scaled-down mimic of a low cost floating dome anaerobic digester. Overall, the results demonstrate that anaerobic digestion of undiluted human simulant excreta in simple unmixed digesters is feasible and yields biogas, which is a valuable commodity. When combined with proper hygienization of its effluent, anaerobic digestion could contribute to effective sanitation in developing countries with limited water availability.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Colón, J; Forbis-Stokes, AA; Deshusses, MA

Published Date

  • December 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 29 /

Start / End Page

  • 57 - 64

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2352-4669

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0973-0826

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.esd.2015.09.005

Citation Source

  • Scopus