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Biological methanation: Strategies for in-situ and ex-situ upgrading in anaerobic digestion

Voelklein, M.A., Rusmanis, Davis, Murphy, J.D.
Applied energy 2019 v.235 pp. 1061-1071
adverse effects, anaerobic digestion, biogas, ceramics, gases, grasses, hydrogen, methane, methane production, methanogens, models
This study investigated in-situ and ex-situ biological methanation strategies for biogas upgrading potential. The addition and circulation of hydrogen with a ceramic gas diffuser unit revealed positive effects on the methanogenic process. A short-term maximum methane productivity of 2.5 L CH4 per L reactor volume per day (LVR−1 d−1) was obtained in-situ. Adverse effects of elevated dissolved hydrogen concentrations on acetogenesis became evident. Ex-situ methanation in a reactor subjected to gas recirculation for recurrent 24 h periods achieved methane formation rates of 3.7 L CH4 LVR−1 d−1. A biomethane with methane concentrations in excess of 96% successfully demonstrated the potential for gas grid injection. A theoretic model supplying gases continuously into a sequential ex-situ reactor system and steadily displacing the upgraded biogas confirmed similar methane formation performance and was advanced to a full-scale concept. Gas conversion efficiency of 95% producing biomethane at 85% methane content was attained. A hybrid model, where an in-situ grass digester is followed by an ex-situ reactor, is proposed as a novel upgrading strategy.