Stabilization of Sewage Sludge from North Moroccan Wastewater Treatment Plants Using Convective Indirect Solar Drying
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Engineering & Applied Technologies Laboratory (LITA), Higher School of Technology - Beni Mellal, Sultan Moulay Slimane University, Morocco.
Laboratory of Fluid Mechanics and Energetics (LMFE), Faculty of Sciences Semlalia, Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco.
Laboratory LAMIGEP, Moroccan School of Engineering Sciences, Marrakesh, Morocco.
Team of Solar Energy and Medicinal Plants EESPAM, Laboratory of Processes for Energy & Environment ProcEDE, Cadi Ayyad University Marrakesh, Morocco.
Corresponding author
El Houssayne BOUGAYR   

Engineering & Applied Technologies Laboratory (LITA), Higher School of Technology - Beni Mellal, Sultan Moulay Slimane University, Morocco.
The significant production of sewage sludge by wastewater treatment plants on a global scale and the lack of correspondence between housing development and the expansion of sanitation infrastructure indicate a genuine concern regarding environmental preservation. This study addresses the crucial issue of effective sewage sludge management and its environmental impact. In the context of searching for new drying methods that optimize energy use and effectively stabilize sewage sludge, this work investigates the drying behavior of sewage sludge from treatment plants in two northern Moroccan cities using a prototype of an indirect forced convection solar dryer. The drying experiments enabled the determination of drying kinetics and highlighted the influence of temperature and humidity on the drying rate. The characteristic drying curve (CDC) and its mathematical expression were determined using Van Meel's formalism. Thermal diffusivity of wastewater sludge during drying was also investigated. Using Fick’s diffusion model, diffusion coefficients ranged between 0.59 × 10⁻⁹ m²/s and 1.43 × 10⁻⁹ m²/s, demonstrating an increase in effective diffusivity with rising temperature. The Arrhenius equation provided activation energy values of 16.80 kJ/mol for Oujda samples and 19.72 kJ/mol for Nador samples, indicating the effect of temperature on effective diffusivity. A new equation based on the Midilli-Kucuk model was proposed to predict drying behavior under untested aerothermal conditions, considering drying temperature and the initial dryness. This study offers a comprehensive analysis of the drying kinetics and effective diffusivity of sewage sludge, providing valuable insights for designing large dryers for sludge management in WWTPs. This approach presents an optimal solution for drying and stabilizing sludge, contributing to environmental preservation efforts.
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