Abstract— A demonstrative-scale drying-and-combustion plant, treating a third of the digestate produced in a large cattle slaughterhouse in Italy, was designed, built, operated, and monitored for two years in order to define its energetic, environmental, and economical performance. Raw and dried digestate, ash, as well as flue gases compositions, were monitored during the research period and mass balances were defined. Energy and chemicals consumption were accounted in order to obtain representative scenarios and to discuss the practicability of this in-situ approach. It resulted that the drying-combustion solution is interesting if: (a) the lower heating value (LHV) of the digestate is higher than 17,000-18,000 kJ per kg of dry matter, (b) the anaerobic plant is large, with a relevant production of digestate (more than 10 t d-1), (c) the cost of conventional disposal of the digestate is higher than 50 € t-1. The chosen technologies appeared adequate to respect the regulatory limits regarding emissions.
Keywords— digestate, drying, combustion, anaerobic digestion, waste, bioenergy.
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