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Concept: Biogas


The potential of using anaerobic digestion for the treatment of poultry blood has been evaluated in batch assays at the laboratory scale and in a mesophilic semi-continuous reactor. The biodegradability test performed on residual poultry blood was carried out in spite of high inhibitory levels of acid intermediaries. The use of activated carbon as a way to prevent inhibitory conditions demonstrated the feasibility of attaining anaerobic digestion under extreme ammonium and acid conditions. Batch assays with higher carbon content presented higher methane production rates, although the difference in the final cumulative biogas production was not as sharp. The digestion of residual blood was also studied under semi-continuous operation using granular and powdered activated carbon. The average specific methane production was 216 ± 12 mL CH4/g VS. This result was obtained in spite of a strong volatile fatty acid (VFA) accumulation, reaching values around 6 g/L, along with high ammonium concentrations (in the range of 6-8 g/L). The use of powdered activated carbon resulted in a better assimilation of C3-C5 acid forms, indicating that an enhancement in syntrophic metabolism may have taken place. Thermal analysis and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were applied as analytical tools for measuring the presence of organic material in the final digestate and evidencing modifications on the carbon surface. The addition of activated carbon for the digestion of residual blood highly improved the digestion process. The adsorption capacity of ammonium, the protection this carrier may offer by limiting mass transfer of toxic compounds, and its capacity to act as a conductive material may explain the successful digestion of residual blood as the sole substrate.

Concepts: Protein, Carbon dioxide, Anaerobic digestion, Biogas, Biodegradation, Scanning electron microscope, Methane, Activated carbon


Food and yard wastes are available year round at low cost and have the potential to complement each other for SS-AD. The goal of this study was to determine optimal feedstock/effluent (F/E) and food waste/yard waste mixing ratios for optimal biogas production. Co-digestion of yard and food waste was carried out at F/E ratios of 1, 2, and 3. For each F/E ratio, food waste percentages of 0%, 10%, and 20%, based on dry volatile solids, were evaluated. Results showed increased methane yields and volumetric productivities as the percentage of food waste was increased to 10% and 20% of the substrate at F/E ratios of 2 and 1, respectively. This study showed that co-digestion of food waste with yard waste at specific ratios can improve digester operating characteristics and end performance metrics over SS-AD of yard waste alone.

Concepts: Anaerobic digestion, Waste management, Biogas, Sintex Digester, Methane, Waste, Biodegradable waste, Landfill


Anaerobic digestion of residual materials from animals and crops offers an opportunity to simultaneously produce bioenergy and plant fertilizers at single farms and in farm communities where input substrate materials and resulting digested residues are shared among member farms. A surplus benefit from this practice may be the suppressing of propagules from harmful biological pests like weeds and animal pathogens (e.g. parasites). In the present work, batch experiments were performed, where survival of seeds of seven species of weeds and non-embryonated eggs of the large roundworm of pigs, Ascaris suum, was assessed under conditions similar to biogas plants managed at meso- (37°C) and thermophilic (55°C) conditions. Cattle manure was used as digestion substrate and experimental units were sampled destructively over time. Regarding weed seeds, the effect of thermophilic conditions (55°C) was very clear as complete mortality, irrespective of weed species, was reached after less than 2 days. At mesophilic conditions, seeds of Avena fatua, Sinapsis arvensis, Solidago canadensis had completely lost germination ability, while Brassica napus, Fallopia convolvulus and Amzinckia micrantha still maintained low levels (∼1%) of germination ability after 1 week. Chenopodium album was the only weed species which survived 1 week at substantial levels (7%) although after 11d germination ability was totally lost. Similarly, at 55°C, no Ascaris eggs survived more than 3h of incubation. Incubation at 37°C did not affect egg survival during the first 48h and it took up to 10days before total elimination was reached. In general, anaerobic digestion in biogas plants seems an efficient way (thermophilic more efficient than mesophilic) to treat organic farm wastes in a way that suppresses animal parasites and weeds so that the digestates can be applied without risking spread of these pests.

Concepts: Archaea, Plant, Anaerobic digestion, Biogas, Sintex Digester, Manure, Thermophile, Mesophile


India is the fifth largest primary energy consumer and fourth largest petroleum consumer after USA, China, and Japan. Despite the global economic crisis, India’s economy is expected to grow at 6 to 8 %/year. There is an extreme dependence on petroleum products with considerable risks and environmental issues. Petroleum-derived transport fuels are of limited availability and contribute to global warming, making renewable biofuel as the best alternative. The focus on biogas and biomass-based energy, such as bioethanol and biohydrogen, will enhance cost-effectiveness and provide an opportunity for the rural community. Among all energy sources, microalgae have received, so far, more attention due to their facile adaptability to grow in the photobioreactors or open ponds, high yields, and multiple applications. Microalgae can produce a substantial amount of triacylglycerols as a storage lipid under photooxidative stress or other adverse environmental conditions. In addition to renewable biofuels, they can provide different types of high-value bioproducts added to their advantages, such as higher photosynthetic efficiency, higher biomass production, and faster growth compared to any other energy crops. The viability of first-generation biofuels production is, however, questionable because of the conflict with food supply. In the future, biofuels should ideally create the environmental, economic, and social benefits to the communities and reflect energy efficiency so as to plan a road map for the industry to produce third-generation biofuels.

Concepts: Petroleum, Anaerobic digestion, Biogas, Biofuel, Renewable energy, Ethanol fuel, Biomass, Fuels


Anaerobic digestibility of the waste activated sludge (WAS) discharged from large-scale membrane bioreactors (MBRs) and conventional activated sludge processes (CASs) were compared using batch trials. Four wastewater treatment plants were sampled. Results showed that the sludge from MBRs had poor anaerobic digestibility as it had lower volatile solid (VS) reduction rate and lower maximum biogas production rate. The partial sludge stabilization during the long sludge retention time (SRT) typically applied in MBRs was the possible reason. On the other hand, the difference in wastewater composition had a great impact on the properties of activated sludge and the downstream sludge digestion. Inorganic matter accumulation in the WAS may hinder the access of microorganisms to substrate. The humic-like substances accumulating in the activated sludge was expected to contribute to the worse digestibility and these substances were observed to be released during anaerobic digestion through three-dimensional excitation-emission matrix (EEM) fluorescence spectra.

Concepts: Sewage treatment, Anaerobic digestion, Waste management, Biogas, Sewage, Activated sludge, Sewerage, Environmental engineering


Biogas is an energy source that is produced via the anaerobic digestion of various organic materials, including waste-water sludge and organic urban wastes. Among the microorganisms involved in digestion, methanogens are the major microbiological group responsible for methane production. To study the microbiological equilibrium in an anaerobic reactor, we detected the methanogen concentration during wet digestion processes fed with pre-treated urban organic waste and waste-water sludge. Two different pre-treatments were used in successive experimental digestions: pressure-extrusion and turbo-mixing. Chemical parameters were collected to describe the process and its production. The method used is based on real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) with the functional gene mcrA as target. First, we evaluated the validity of the analyses. Next, we applied this method to 50 digestate samples and then we performed a statistical analysis. A positive and significant correlation between the biogas production rate and methanogen abundance was observed (r = 0.579, p < 0.001). This correlation holds both when considering all of the collected data and when the two data sets are separated. The pressure-extrusion pre-treatment allowed to obtain the higher methane amount and also the higher methanogen presence (F = 41.190, p < 0.01). Moreover a higher mean methanogen concentration was observed for production rate above than of 0.6 m(3) biogas/kg TVS (F = 7.053; p < 0.05). The applied method is suitable to describe microbiome into the anaerobic reactor, moreover methanogen concentration may have potential for use as a digestion optimisation tool.

Concepts: Scientific method, Archaea, Bacteria, Anaerobic digestion, Waste management, Biogas, Methane, Methanogen


The feasibility of anaerobic treatment of methanol condensate from pulp and paper mill in UASB reactor was investigated and compared with the anaerobic treatment of methanol. The UASB reactor treating methanol condensate was operated for 480days with minimum problems of overload. COD removal from methanol condensate and methanol under normal operating conditions ranged from 84-86% to 86-98%, respectively. Under optimal conditions (OLR=5.0gCODL(-1)day(-1), COD(influent)=11.40gL(-1)) a methane yield of 0.29 NL CH(4) per g COD(removed) (at standard temperature and pressure) was achieved during the treatment of methanol condensate. The recovery time of the microorganisms after several overloads was decreasing each time probably due to the adaptation to methanol condensate. These findings indicate that methanol condensate can be efficiently treated in a UASB reactor with the benefit of biogas production. As a bonus effect of the treatment, much of the smell of the feed was eliminated.

Concepts: Thermodynamics, Anaerobic digestion, Biogas, Paper, Methane, Standard conditions for temperature and pressure, Pulp and paper industry, Upflow anaerobic sludge blanket digestion


Particle size may significantly affect the speed and stability of anaerobic digestion, and matching the choice of particle size reduction equipment to digester type can thus determine the success or failure of the process. In the current research the organic fraction of municipal solid waste was processed using a combination of a shear shredder, rotary cutter and wet macerator to produce streams with different particle size distributions. The pre-processed waste was used in trials in semi-continuous ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ digesters at organic loading rate (OLR) up to 6kg volatile solids (VS) m(-3)day(-1). The results indicated that while difference in the particle size distribution did not change the specific biogas yield, the digester performance was affected. In the ‘dry’ digesters the finer particle size led to acidification and ultimately to process failure at the highest OLR. In ‘wet’ digestion a fine particle size led to severe foaming and the process could not be operated above 5kgVSm(-3)day(-1). Although the trial was not designed as a direct comparison between ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ digestion, the specific biogas yield of the ‘dry’ digesters was 90% of that produced by ‘wet’ digesters fed on the same waste at the same OLR.

Concepts: Anaerobic digestion, Waste management, Particle size distribution, Biogas, Sintex Digester, Hydrogen sulfide


The objective of this research was to study the production of biogas by using pineapple pulp and peel, the by-products from fruit processing plants, in a plug-flow reactor (17.5 L total volume). The effects of feed concentration, total solids (TS) and hydraulic retention time (HRT) on degradation of the waste were investigated. The increase of pineapple pulp and peel of 2% (wt/vol) at HRT 7 d to 4% (wt/vol) at HRT 10 d showed increases in biogas production rate, biogas yield and methane yield - from 0.12 v/v-d, 0.26 m(3)/kg COD removed and 0.11 m(3)/kg COD removed, with COD removal at 64.1%, to 0.25 v/v-d, 0.43 m(3)/kg COD removed and 0.14 m(3)/kg COD removed, with COD removal at 60.41%. The methanogenic fermentation was more active in the middle and final parts of the reactor. The recirculation of fermentation effluent at 40% (vol/vol) of the working volume into the reactor could increase the biogas production rate and biogas yield up to 52% and 12%, respectively. The results showed technological potential for waste treatment of pineapple pulp and peel in a plug-flow reactor.

Concepts: Anaerobic digestion, Waste management, Biogas, Sintex Digester, Fruit, Methane, Energy crop, Methanogenesis


The present work reports the first ever evaluation of the biological CH4 potential (BMP) of starfish, classified as invasive species. Since starfish contain a large amount of inorganic matter, only the supernatant obtained through grinding and centrifugation was used for BMP test. By applying response surface methodology, the individual and interactive effects of three parameters, inoculum/substrate ratios, substrate concentrations, and buffer capacities on CH4 production were investigated, and the maximum CH4 yield of 334mL CH4/g COD was estimated. In addition, continuous CH4 production was attempted using a two-stage (acidogenic sequencing batch reactor+methanogenic up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor (UASBr)) fermentation process. Acidification efficiency was maximized at 2days of hydraulic retention time with valerate, butyrate, and acetate as main acids, and these were converted to CH4 with showing 296mL CH4/g CODadded. Overall, the two-stage fermentation process could convert 44% of organic content in whole starfish to CH4.

Concepts: Protein, Anaerobic digestion, Biogas, Methane, Methanogen, Landfill, Upflow anaerobic sludge blanket digestion, Methanogenesis