Assessment of organic waste availability and suitability for the co-digestion of faecal sludge in Vietnam

This Master thesis comes within the framework of the PURR project (Partnership for Urban Resource Recovery), which is a collaboration between the Department of Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries (Sandec) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), the Institute of Environmental Science and Engineering (IESE) at the National University of Civil Engineering of Hanoi (HUCE), and the Laboratory for Environmental Biotechnology (LBE) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). The PURR project is aiming to allow a comprehensive management of faecal sludge (FS) in Vietnamese urban areas. In that perspective, anaerobic co-digestion of FS with other type of organic waste is seen as a very promising technology. As the potential benefit from FS co-digestion is closely linked with the choice of co-substrates, this Master thesis was focusing on assessing the availability and suitability of potential co-substrates produced in the two case study cities Bac Ninh and Son La. By field research and interviews, a better understanding of the actual organic waste management was established. This showed that the actual organic waste management is not in favour of FS co-digestion as such. Indeed, all organic wastes separated at production source and therefore of high quality in terms of absence of impurities with disturbing effects, are already being reused, mainly as livestock feed. The remaining organic wastes are domestic waste, which cannot be used for anaerobic digestion (AD) process due to their high level of impurities related to their mixture with non-organic wastes. However, field research also revealed that rooms for improvements do exist for a better management of organic domestic waste. Nowadays they are most of the time dumped in landfills without any treatment. A segregation step would be really relevant to implement in order to decrease the related pollution and potential resource recovery of these valuable but underexploited wastes. Nevertheless, this would require political support from local authority in order to be efficient. Based on the organic waste assessment, co-treatment scenarios and related pros and constraints for FS co-digestion when considering the local context were developed. The use of segregated organic domestic waste came out to be the most sustainable scenario but is largely compromised by actual policy. The use of unfresh fruits and vegetables from market can be considered as the best compromise between technical and contextual constraints and would require less effort to be effective. In both scenarios, local support is a key factor for their effectiveness. Based on the results of the current report, the following statement can be deduced: If local support is provided, anaerobic co-digestion would be a relevant process for FS treatment. Otherwise, other treatment processes should be investigated.

Holliger, Christof
Bassan, Magalie

 Record created 2014-08-21, last modified 2019-07-22

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