The present work is aimed to assess experimentally solar heated sludge drying beds located in the New Orleans, Louisiana metropolitan area with an appropriately sized solar system designed to operate on a fiberglass-covered drying bed. Another open drying bed was left without solar heating for comparative purposes. Five experimental runs were conducted over a one-year period to account for all weather conditions utilizing aerobically digested waste activated sludge. Compared to conventional beds, the solar beds achieved an average reduction of 50 percent in the drying period required to obtain a total solids concentration of 30 percent and an average reduction of 60 percent in the drying period of sludge to reach a total solids concentration of 60 percent. Sludge of total solids content of more than 90 percent was produced in an average period of 20 days under the solar drying process. System energy effects and economic analysis were also discussed.

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