Sonolyzer™ Ultrasound Sludge Disintegrator

The Sonolyzer™ Ultrasound Sludge Disintegrator technology is one of the most effective sludge reduction technologies available in the market. Ultrasound applied to water at high intensity and low-to-medium frequencies (20 to 35 kHz) generates cavitation, which is the rapid creation, growth and collapse by implosion of microscopic bubbles. This creates extreme mechanical shear forces that cause the disintegration of biomass in wastewater.
  • Improved Anaerobic Digestion Process
  • Additional gas production
  • Increased volatile solids destruction
  • Sludge minimization
  • Improved dewaterability of sludge

With increasing energy costs and the social pressures for renewable energy and environmental impact minimization, municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants are on the look-out for technologies to enhance aerobic and anaerobic biological processes.

  • Anaerobic digestion process improvement by way of cell lysis
  • Small footprint system, scalable for expanding plant size
  • Easy installation, low maintenance requirement and simple operation
  • Extending the life of overloaded digesters, by means of sludge minimization and process improvement
  • Reduction or elimination of bulking sludge and foaming

Using the Sonolyzer technology, sludge can typically be minimized by a factor of 10-20%, not only increasing the effective size of a digester but also impacting the costs associated with sludge handling. Furthermore, when biogas production is an objective, the process typically improves offerings by as much as 15-20%.

Another benefit of the technology is the nurturing of the denitrification process, as cell lysing provides additional carbon for the biological reactor.



Conventional anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge is limited by the hydrolysis step (technical digestion limit). Treating (waste activated) sludge with ultrasound overcomes this limit; the anaerobic digestion process is intensified and further degradation is achieved. This reduces the quantity of digested residual sludge, while biogas production increases.


The Sonolyzer modular ultrasound reactor is made of stainless steel and accommodates five ultrasonic units (Sonotrodes), each powered by a separate generator. The intensity of the Sonotrodes is controlled by the frequency of the generators, located in the area of the Sonolyzer controls. The sludge flow travels in a serpentine pattern that allows full exposure of the sludge at each sonotrode horn.

The Sonotrodes create compression waves which cause cavitation within the sludge. This force results in the decomposition of sludge flocs, disruption of sludge cells, reduction of sludge viscosity and release of active enzymes (which stimulates the subsequent anaerobic degradation process).


What is the volume handled by a Sonolyzer unit?

Typically, only 1/3 of the thickened waste-activate sludge (TWAS) stream is treated with the Sonolyzer unit. The capacity per reactor is 6.0-9.0 gpm and multiple reactors can be used in parallel, or sized for specific applications.

What is the preferred TWAS loading?

The ideal solids concentration is in the order of 1.5-2% DS

Are there any wear items requiring regular replacement?

While the Sonolyzer ultrasound sludge disintegrator technology is in operation, it is fully automated. However, approximately every 12 months the five (5) titanium horns in each reactor need to be replaced.

What is the estimated operational cost?

Each Sonolyzer reactor is rated at 5 kW and can generate more energy than what is used through increased gas production of anaerobic digestion processes.

Can Ovivo assess the feasibility of a project and/or test a sludge?

Yes, Ovivo has a pilot unit available to rent. However, prior to renting the Sonolyzer reactor, we collect general information to get a baseline of information. If favorable, we then recommend treating a sludge sample in our laboratory to see what effect sonication has and to predict the level of VSS improvement that can be achieved.

Are you concerned about release of nitrogen and phosphorus when you use treated (sonicated) TWAS to boost the carbon source in anoxic basin?

Yes, we consider the release of nutrients (N, P) due to ultrasound disintegration in the mass balance calculations for full-scale applications. This is why we analyze the release of soluble COD, N and P during our lab sonication tests. Typically, the COD:N ratio is higher than 10:1 in the sludge after sonication of the TWAS sample. This shows the suitability of the sludge as a carbon source for the denitrification process.

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Ovivo sells ultrasound technology in the treatment of sewage and sludge under its own trademark Sonolyzer™ under a patent license agreement. For further information about the availability of this product in your country, please contact our Customer Contact Center.