Ultrasound-assisted digestate treatment of manure digestate for increased biogas production in small pilot scale anaerobic digesters

In this study, ultrasound (US) disintegration was evaluated as a digestate treatment strategy. Digestate treatment is the physical, chemical or biological treatment and recirculation AD of the effluents of the anaerobic digesters (i.e., digestate) to the digester as supplementary feed to increase their utilization potential for energy conversion or green chemical production in post-valorization pathways. In this scope, semi-continuous small pilot scale manure digesters were operated in parallel with various operational settings. One of the digesters was fed by adding disintegrated digestate to an equal volume of fresh manure feed (recycle ratio of 1). The obtained results showed that US-assisted digestate treatment at 1500 kJ/kg TS specific energy input with 30 days of hydraulic retention time increased the methane production rate by 18%. The increased methane production rate was found to be related to the applied specific energy and organic loading rate. A basic cost-benefit analysis showed that the energy demand of the US disintegration at lab scale was higher than the energy that can be recovered from the additional biogas produced.

Reference to the paper: Samet Azman, Hannah Milh, Matthijs H. Somers, Huili Zhang, Ine Huybrechts, Erik Meers, Boudewijn Meesschaert, Raf Dewil, Lise Appels (2020). Renewable Energy 152, 664-673. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2020.01.096.

Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology Flanders (IWT 150156) for the financial support. Hannah Miller holds a PhD Fellowship fundamental research of the Research Foundation Flanders (11D7418N) and Matthijs H. Somers holds a PhD fellowship strategic basic research of the Research Foundation Flanders (1S68017N).