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Front. Energy Res. | doi: 10.3389/fenrg.2019.00019

Treatment of Sewage Sludge using Anaerobic Digestion in Malaysia: Current State and Challenges

 Farida Hanum1, 2, Lee C. Yuan1, Hirotsugu Kamahara3, Hamidi A. Aziz4, Yoichi Atsuta1, Takeshi Yamada1 and Hiroyuki Daimon1, 3*
  • 1Department of Environmental and Life Sciences, Toyohashi University of Technology, Japan
  • 2Chemical Engineering Department, Universitas Sumatera Utara, Indonesia
  • 3Institute for Global Network Innovation in Technology Education, Toyohashi University of Technology, Japan
  • 4School of Civil Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia

Anaerobic digestion is widely considered as an environmentally friendly technology for various organic waste including sewage sludge. Although the implementation of anaerobic digestion as an alternative treatment method for sewage sludge can be seen in many countries, its status in Malaysia is not clear. This study reviewed the current state of sewage sludge treatment in Malaysia and discussed the challenges to promote anaerobic digestion in sewage sludge treatment. Other than the common constraints faced, namely technical, political and economic, the characteristics of sewage sludge in Malaysia is considered to be a factor regarding feasibility. Anaerobic co-digestion is the simultaneous anaerobic digestion of two or more substrates which is a promising possible option to overcome the disadvantages of mono-digestion, and improve the economic viability due to higher methane production. There are a variety of biomass as co-substrate in Malaysia. However, the anaerobic co-digestion of food waste and sewage sludge might be the most feasibility method to overcome such constraints. Adding food waste as co-substrate is suggested as the possible approach to not only improve the process’s performance but also help to handle the increasing volume of food waste in Malaysia. This study aimed to highlight the potential as well as to provide a starting point for further studies regarding the treatment of sewage sludge using anaerobic digestion in Malaysia.

Keywords: sewage sludge, anaerobic digestion, Co-digestion, Food waste, Malaysia

Received: 02 Jul 2018; Accepted: 11 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Mohammad Rehan, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia

Reviewed by:

Muhammad Waqas, Kohat University of Science and Technology, Pakistan
Muzammil Anjum, Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Pakistan  

Copyright: © 2019 Hanum, Yuan, Kamahara, Aziz, Atsuta, Yamada and Daimon. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Hiroyuki Daimon, Department of Environmental and Life Sciences, Toyohashi University of Technology, Toyohashi, Japan,