Characterization of fecal sludge as biomass feedstock for thermal treatment in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Background: Transformative sanitation technologies aim to treat fecal sludge (FS) by thermal processes and recover resources from it. There is a paucity of data describing the relevant properties of FS as viable feedstock for thermal treatment in major geographical target areas, such as India. Methods: This study characterized FS collected from septic tanks in two cities located in the Indian southern state of Tamil Nadu. FS samples were obtained at the point of discharge from trucks in Tiruppur (n=85 samples) and Coimbatore (n=50 samples). Additionally, biosolids obtained from sewage treatment plants (STP) in the cities of Coimbatore and Madurai were characterized. Total solids (TS) were measured, and proximate and ultimate analysis were conducted according to methods used by the fuel industry. Additionally, the ash content was analyzed for heavy metal using standard methods. Results: The average higher heating value (HHV) across all FS samples in Tiruppur (13.4 MJ/kg) was significantly higher than in Coimbatore (5.4 MJ/kg), which was partially attributed to the high ash content of 69% in the latter samples. The HHV of the biosolids samples ranged from 10 to 12.2 MJ/Kg. The average total solids (TS) content for FS was 3.3% and 2.0% for Tiruppur and Coimbatore respectively, while the median TS content for the two cities was 2.3% and 1.2%. The heavy metal content of the ash was found to be below the thresholds for land disposal. Conclusions: This is one of the first studies that has systematically characterized the calorific and mineral content of septage and biosolids in several cities in India. We expect these data to serve as input data in the design of thermal processes for fecal sludge treatment.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Grego, S; Barani, V; Hegarty-Craver, M; Rosario, P; Madhavan, P; Perumal, P; Sasidaran, S; Basil, M; Raj, A; Berg, AB; Stowell, A; Heaton, C

Published Date

  • January 1, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 2 /

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2572-4754

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.12688/gatesopenres.12870.2

Citation Source

  • Scopus