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Enhancing biogas plant production using pig manure and corn silage by adding wheat straw processed with liquid hot water and steam explosion

Gaworski, Michał, Jabłoński, Sławomir, Pawlaczyk-Graja, Izabela, Ziewiecki, Rafał, Rutkowski, Piotr, Wieczyńska, Anna, Gancarz, Roman, Łukaszewicz, Marcin
Biotechnology for biofuels 2017 v.10 no.1 pp. 259
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, bioavailability, biogas, biomass, cellulose, corn silage, depolymerization, energy, furfural, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, hemicellulose, hydrolysis, hydroxymethylfurfural, inoculum, leachates, lignin, lignocellulose, liquids, methane production, methanogens, nitrogen content, organic carbon, pig manure, wheat straw
BACKGROUND: Pig manure utilization and valorization is an important topic with tightening regulations focused on ecological and safety issues. By itself pig manure is a poor substrate for biogas production because of its excessive nitrogen content relative to available organic carbon. Such substrate is alkaline, and methanogenesis can be suppressed, and so additional substrates with high organic carbon must be added. The most promising is straw, which is available from adjacent biogas plant cultures. However, the abundant lignocellulosic biomass of wheat straw undergoes slow decomposition, and only a fraction of the chemical energy can be converted into biogas; thus economical methods for pretreatment increasing bioavailability are sought. RESULTS: A method was investigated to increase the methane yield in a full-scale plant for co-fermenting pig manure with corn silage, which was the default substrate in the original source reactors. Increased lignocellulosic bioavailability of wheat straw was achieved by combining liquid hot water (LHW) and steam explosion (SE). According to FT-IR analysis, the treatment resulted in hemicellulose hydrolysis, partial cellulose depolymerization, and lignin bond destruction. Low-mass polysaccharides (0.6 × 10³ g mol⁻¹) had significantly higher concentration in the leachate of LHW-SE wheat straw than raw wheat straw. The methanogenic potential was evaluated using inoculum from two different biogas plants to study the influence of microorganism consortia. The yield was 24–34% higher after the pretreatment process. In a full-scale biogas plant, the optimal conditions were ~ 165 °C, ~ 2.33 MPa, and 10 min in LHW and ~ 65 °C and ~ 0.1 MPa for SE. The processes did not generate detectable inhibitors according to GC–MS analysis, such as furfural and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural. CONCLUSIONS: The LHW-SE combined pretreatment process increases the bioavailability of carbohydrates from wheat straw. The LHW-SE treated wheat straw gave similar biogas yields to corn silage, thus enables at least partial replacement of corn silage and is good for diversification of substrates. Surprisingly, microorganisms consortia from other biogas plant fed with other substrates may have higher efficiency in utilization of tested substrate. Thus, methanogenic consortia may be considered in the process of optimization at industrial scale. The efficiency was calculated, and the LHW-SE may be profitable at full industrial scale and further optimization is proposed.