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Effects of Different Pretreatments on Improving Biogas Production of Macroalgae Fucus vesiculosus and Fucus serratus in Baltic Sea

Wu, Yi. N., Mattsson, M., Ding, Min. W., Wu, Meng. T., Mei, J., Shen, Yao. L.
Energy & fuels 2019 v.33 no.3 pp. 2278-2284
Fucus serratus, Fucus vesiculosus, agricultural land, anaerobic digestion, biogas, cell walls, clean energy, energy, energy costs, gas production (biological), global warming, hydrolysis, leachates, macroalgae, methane production, prices, ultrasonics, Baltic Sea, Sweden
Global warming along with energy demand and rising prices of natural energy resources have motivated studies to find some renewable and clean energy. The use of algae as the third-generation biofuel can avoid the competition for farmland, and algae can be considered as a potential future source of renewable energy. Algae can be used for biogas production through anaerobic digestion (AD). Fucus vesiculosus and Fucus serratus are the two dominating species of brown seaweed growing in the Baltic Sea in the southwest of Sweden. Pretreatment can significantly affect the biogas production because hydrolysis of the algae cell wall structure is a rate-limiting step in the AD process. In this study, four different pretreatments: mechanical, microwave (600 W, 2 min), ultrasonic (110 V, 15 min), and microwave combined with ultrasonic (600 W, 2 min; 110 V, 15 min) were applied to the seaweed and then codigested with a biogas plant leachate. The aim of this study was to investigate methane yields from AD after these pretreatments. The results showed that when compared with only mechanical pretreatment, the ultrasonic, ultrasonic combined with microwave, and microwave pretreatments could obtain increased cumulative methane yields of 167, 185, and 156%, respectively. The combined pretreatment showed a maximum methane yield of 260 mL/g·of volatile solids after 20 days of digestion. The ultrasonic combined with microwave pretreatment showed a significant improvement in methane yield when compared with the mechanical pretreatment.