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Evaluation of thermal, ultrasonic and alkali pretreatments on mixed-microalgal biomass to enhance anaerobic methane production

Cho, Sunja, Park, Seonghwan, Seon, Jiyun, Yu, Jaechul, Lee, Taeho
Bioresource technology 2013 v.143 pp. 330-336
alkali treatment, anaerobic digestion, biomass, digestion, energy, methane, methane production, microalgae, pH, solubilization
Anaerobic digestion was regarded as one of the ways to recover energy from mixed-microalgae biomass in this study. After applying thermal-, ultrasonic-, and alkali-pretreatments to raw microalgae biomass to promote the digestion efficiency, a biochemical methane potential was investigated to evaluate the effectiveness of the pre-treatments for the purpose. As the pretreatment intensity increased, the solubilization of the mixed microalgae increased. However, the increased solubilization was not followed proportionally by the increased methane production. The highest methane productivity was achieved by the thermal-pretreatment at 120°C (405mL CH4/g-VS), which was 1.2 times higher than that of the non-pretreatment condition (336mL CH4/g-VS). The net energy analysis revealed that only the pretreatment adjusted to pH 9 yielded a slightly higher energy gains (12.8kJ/g-VS) than that of non-pretreatment condition (11.9kJ/g-VS). These findings recommend direct supply of microalgae biomass for anaerobic digestion.