Anaerobic Co-digestion of Digestate with Glycerol to enhance Biogas Production

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för tema

Abstract: The Brazilian sugarcane and ethanol industries produce lot of waste which has potential for energy production. Anaerobic digestion (AD) can be effectively utilized for producing biogas from these wastes. During the AD process, huge volumes of digestate are produced with some being employed in fertilizer application whilst large volumes are mostly stored in uncovered tanks. This result in emission of residual methane and loss of energy which can be recovered through post- digestion approaches. To analyse optimal utilization of this digestate and enhanced biogas production, co- digestion of post- digestate from a continuously stirred reactor (CSTR) performing co-digestion of sugarcane waste from Brazil (Vinasse, filter cake and straw) with addition of different glycerol concentrations were studied. The addition of glycerol characterised by its biodegradability and high organic content makes it a suitable substrate to enhance biogas production. A biomethane potential was assessed when the digestate was co-digested with 15% and 25% CODg/L of glycerol. The batch test lasted for 39 days. The results demonstrated that, co-digestion of digestate with glycerol has the potential of increasing cumulative methane and biogas yield with 25% addition producing the highest methane and biogas yield (318 Nml/gCOD and 196 Nml/gCOD) which was approximately 6 times higher compared to mono-digestion of the digestate. Anaerobic co-digestion of digestate and glycerol was examined in two lab scale reactors (CSTR) at mesophilic conditions (35oC) and were run for 90 days. The reactor (R1) performing co-digestion increased methane and biogas production by 300% and 170% when glycerol concentrations of 15% and 25% of influent COD were added, respectively. Moreover, there was a decrease in CH4 yield when the reactors were continuously fed with 15% and 25% CODg/L of glycerol. This was an indication that, microorganisms easily digested glycerol addition at the early stages. Glycerol addition (50% CODg/L) resulted in a decrease in CH4 and biogas production.  This result shows, CH4 yields in the post-digester can be enhanced with glycerol addition if it does not exceed a limiting of 50% of the organic loading rates of the feed.

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