Main content area

Ampelodesmos mauritanicus pyrolysis biochar in anaerobic digestion process: Evaluation of the biogas yield

Luz, Fábio Codignole, Cordiner, Stefano, Manni, Alessandro, Mulone, Vincenzo, Rocco, Vittorio, Braglia, Roberto, Canini, Antonella
Energy 2018 v.161 pp. 663-669
Ampelodesmos mauritanicus, acclimation, anaerobic digestion, bioavailability, biochar, biogas, biomass, cattle manure, energy conversion, equations, food waste, inoculum, methane, methane production, microbial activity, phytoremediation, pollutants, pyrolysis, temperature
The integration of different conversion technologies can strongly contribute to the biomass potential exploitation. To this aim, the use of intermediate pyrolysis biochar is analyzed in this paper as an alternative co-substrate in anaerobic digestion. The specie Ampelodesmos mauritanicus has been specifically chosen in this case for its capacity to tolerate, accumulate and, in some cases, degrade organic and inorganic pollutants. The biochar, produced under intermediate pyrolysis conditions at 450 °C, 500 °C and 550 °C, has been here considered for a biomethane potential assessment. The intermediate pyrolysis process improves the herbaceous bioavailability and promotes the microbial activity by reducing the digestion lag phase. Three reactors, namely B450, B500 and B550, have been considered in this study. Acclimatized cow manure from food wastes digestion has been used as inoculum with 5 g of biochar. The reactors have been continuously monitored for 15 days keeping the temperature fixed at 37 °C. Excluding the inoculum contribution, an accumulated methane production of 465–540.4 ml CH4/g-VS has been measured with an LHV evaluated in the range 25.8–26.9 MJ/kg. The modified Gompertz equation has been then used to describe the influence of biochar production temperature on methane conversion. A lag phase of 1.8, 2.2 and 3.8 days respectively for B450, B500 and B550, has been estimated showing an inverse proportionality to the biochar production temperature. The biomass to biogas energy conversion analysis reveals a reduction in the efficiency with the biochar production temperature increase. This fact is attributed to the steep reduction in volatile solids occurring by increasing the pyrolysis process severity. As a whole, the paper present a novel approach to possibly combine phytoremediation and production of renewable energy by using Ampelodesmos mauritanicus.