Enhancing methane production from waste activated sludge with heat-assisted potassium ferrate (PF) pretreatment: Reaction kinetics and mechanisms

Sci Total Environ. 2023 Feb 20;860:160441. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.160441. Epub 2022 Nov 24.


This work proposed a novel strategy via heat-assisted potassium ferrate (PF) pretreatment to enhance methane production from waste activated sludge (WAS) during anaerobic digestion. In this research, five dosages of PF (i.e., 0, 0.05, 0.1, 0.3 and 0.5 g/g VSS) at two temperatures (i.e., 25 °C and 55 °C) were explored. Biochemical methane potential experiments illustrated that heat-assisted PF pretreatment improved cumulative methane production with the maximum yield up to 163.93 mL CH4/g VSS, 149.0 %, 119.6 % and 121.0 % of that in the control, individual 0.5 g PF/g VSS and individual heat (i.e., 55 °C) pretreatment digesters, respectively. The maximum methane potential (B0) was promoted by 63.2 % with heat-assisted PF pretreatment compared to the control, while the hydrolysis rate (k) changed slightly. Mechanism analysis revealed that heat-assisted PF pretreatment accelerated WAS solubilization and enhanced the biodegradability of released substances, providing more available matrix for bacteria during the following anaerobic digestion processes. Microbial community analysis exhibited that several microbes such as Proteiniclasticum sp., Sedimentibacter sp. and Methanosaeta sp. associated with hydrolysis, acidification and methanogenesis respectively were improved after heat-assisted PF pretreatment. In addition, the relative bioactivities of protease, butyrate kinase and acetate kinase were also increased. Furthermore, variation of dominant genes associated with methane production indicated that acetate-dependent methanogenesis was the main pathway while CO2-dependent methanogenesis pathway was inhibited by heat-assisted PF pretreatment.

Keywords: Anaerobic digestion; Heat; Methane production; Potassium ferrate (PF).

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobiosis
  • Bioreactors
  • Hot Temperature
  • Kinetics
  • Methane / metabolism
  • Sewage*
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid*


  • potassium ferrate
  • Sewage
  • Methane