Biogenic and fossil carbon in sewage sludge and digester gas determined by isotope investigation / by Gesine D. Lorenz, Susanne Voerkelius, Stephan Huxol (Hydroisotop GmbH, Schweitenkirchen); Hans J. Garvens (Umweltbundesamt, Deutsche Emissionshandelsstelle (German Environment Agency, German Emissions Trading Authority), Berlin) ; on behalf of the German Environment Agency ; publisher: Umweltbundesamt ; report performed by: Hydroisotop GmbH ; edited by: Section V 3.2 Chemical Industry and Industrial Combustion Installations, Hans J. Garvens
VerfasserLorenz, Gesine D. ; Voerkelius, Susanne ; Huxol, Stephan
HerausgeberGarvens, Hans J.
KörperschaftDeutschland ; Hydroisotop GmbH
ErschienenDessau-Roßlau : Umweltbundesamt, December 2022
Umfang1 Online-Ressource (22 Seiten, 0,35 MB) : Diagramme
Report completed in: October 2016
SerieTexte ; 2022, 150
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Biogenic and fossil carbon in sewage sludge and digester gas determined by isotope investigation [0.35 mb]
Sewage sludge and digester gas are used as fuels in various installations including those participating in the European Emissions Trading System (ETS). Monitoring of the emissions from such fuels shall include all carbon dioxide from fossil sources. We analysed the distribution of biogenic and fossil carbon and potential dependencies from available data on the wastewater input characterisation based on a number of samples of sewage sludge (20) and digester gas (14) from a wide variety of municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Germany. The biogenic carbon content of the sewage sludge and digester gas samples were determined by analysing the carbon-14 (14C) content using a liquid scintillation counter (LSC) after combustion to CO2. CO2 already present in the digester gas samples was included in the analysis as this CO2 also originates from the degradation of the contents of sewage. Based on the results we suggest the input to municipal WWTPs should be characterised by the share of sewage from industry compared to total water input expressed as inhabitants equivalent. The results of the study show that if the share of sewage from industry is below 45% sewage sludge contains about 76% biogenic carbon while the respective digester gas contains about 83% biogenic carbon. The sewage from municipal WWTPs with higher percentages of industrial wastewater (≥45%) can show significantly smaller proportions of biogenic carbon. Biogenic carbon content of about 28% to 71% were determined in sewage sludge from such wastewater plants while the respective digester gas contained about 11% to 88% biogenic carbon. The origin of the respective carbon content was not investigated. Sources like cleaning agents and detergents and other persistent synthetic substances among others were considered as contributors to the fossil carbon in the sewage. Wastewater from industries processing chemicals etc. and fossil fuels in particular are responsible for higher proportions of fossil carbon in the sewage sludge and digester gas. Wastewater from food processing paper gastronomy and the hotel sector all show the same proportion of biogenic carbon as domestic sewage. Key words: 14C-analysis LSC wastewater treatment plant biogenic/fossil carbon dioxide CO2 emissions ETS