Biorefinery potential of chemically enhanced primary treatment sewage sludge to representative value-added chemicals - A de novo angle for wastewater treatment

Houde Jing, Huaimin Wang, Carol Sze Ki Lin, Huichuan Zhuang, Ming Ho To, Shao Yuan Leu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Chemically enhanced primary treatment (CEPT) is an emerging sewage treatment strategy due to its high efficiency and small land requirement. CEPT sludge can be easily dewatered and used for energy recovery through incineration. However, with large amount of reusable nutrients (40% organic carbon, 23% lipids, and 17% protein), the value of CEPT sludge may have been underestimated. In this study, the biorefinery potential of CEPT sludge has been proven via production of 28.9 g/L ethanol or 50.3 g/L lactic acid (LA) or 1.43 filter paper unit (FPU)/mL cellulase from 10 g of CEPT sludge experiment. Inhibition on cell growth and potential inhibitors from plasticizers, pharmaceuticals, and surfactants were determined. Nevertheless, production titer was not affected or performed even better than the non-inhibitors controls. CEPT sludge showed significant potential in biochemical conversion, and the related products may offer an opportunity to support wastewater treatment toward sustainability and carbon neutrality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125583
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Cellulase
  • CEPT sludge
  • Circular economy
  • Ethanol
  • Lactic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal

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