Co-digestion and food waste AD: BioWin modelling to optimise OLR and HRT on the Avonmouth food waste digesters

Forgacs, G.1, Smyth, M.1, Law, I.2 and Arnot, T.3, 1 Aqua Enviro, UK, 2 Wessex Water Enterprises trading as GENeco, UK, 3 Water Innovation & Research Centre, University of Bath, UK



In this study, a model for anaerobic digestion of food waste was developed using BioWin 4.1
simulator software. Substrate characteristics were determined by laboratory analysis and steady
state simulation. Kinetic parameters were identified by running dynamic simulations. Input data for
calibration and validation was collected from a large-scale food waste digestion plant in the UK. The
model predictions showed a high degree of agreement in terms of biogas production, COD and VS
reduction, and ammonia and VFAs concentrations. The model was used to investigate how the
process responds to various changes in the operating conditions including increasing organic loading
rate (OLR) or decreasing HRT. The results show that the current 20-25 days HRT could be
decreased by 10% without risking process stability and reducing the efficiency of the anaerobic
digestion, and hence throughput and biogas production could be increased.

Anaerobic digestion; BioWin; food waste; simulation;


BioWin is a widely used software tool for simulating waste water treatment processes. It contains an
advanced anaerobic digestion model that integrates the IWA activated sludge models (ASM1, ASM2d
and ASM3) with the ADM1 anaerobic digestion model. This model has been successfully applied for
simulation of anaerobic digestion of sludge. However, to our knowledge, BioWin has yet to be applied
using other substrates as feedstock for anaerobic digestion. In this paper, our aim is to investigate the
capacity of a BioWin model to describe the anaerobic digestion of food waste.

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