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Bio Gas 6

Bio Gas 6

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Review paper
Enhancement of biogas production from solid substratesusing different techniques––a review
, Santosh
, T.R. Sreekrishnan
, Sangeeta Kohli
, Vineet Rana
Centre for Rural Development & Technology, I.I.T., Delhi 1100016, India
Department for Biochemical Engineering & Biotechnology, I.I.T., Delhi 1100016, India
Department of Mechanical Engineering, I.I.T., Delhi 1100016, India
Received 31 July 2003; received in revised form 18 August 2003
Biogas, a clean and renewable form of energy could very well substitute (especially in the rural sector) for conventional sources of energy (fossil fuels, oil, etc.) which are causing ecological–environmental problems and at the same time depleting at a faster rate.Despite its numerous advantages, the potential of biogas technology could not be fully harnessed or tapped as certain constraints arealso associated with it. Most common among these are: the large hydraulic retention time of 30–50 days, low gas production inwinter, etc. Therefore, efforts are needed to remove its various limitations so as to popularize this technology in the rural areas.Researchers have tried different techniques to enhance gas production. This paper reviews the various techniques, which could beused to enhance the gas production rate from solid substrates.
2004 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Biogas production rate; Additives; Anaerobic filters; HRT
1. Introduction
In today’s energy demanding life style, need forexploring and exploiting new sources of energy whichare renewable as well as eco-friendly is a must. In ruralareas of developing countries various cellulosic biomass(cattle dung, agricultural residues, etc.) are available inplenty which have a very good potential to cater to theenergy demand, especially in the domestic sector. InIndia alone, there are an estimated over 250 millioncattle and if one third of the dung produced annuallyfrom these is available for production of biogas, morethan 12 million biogas plants can be installed (Kashyapet al., 2003). Biogas technology offers a very attractiveroute to utilize certain categories of biomass for meetingpartial energy needs. In fact proper functioning of bio-gas system can provide multiple benefits to the users andthe community resulting in resource conservation andenvironmental protection.Biogas is a product of anaerobic degradation of or-ganicsubstrates,whichisoneoftheoldestprocessesusedfor the treatment of industrial wastes and stabilization of sludges. Since it is carried out by a consortium of microorganisms and depends on various factors like pH,temperature, HRT, C/N ratio, etc., it is a relatively slowprocess.Lackofprocess stability, lowloading rates, slowrecovery after failure and specific requirements for wastecomposition are some of the other limitations associatedwith it (Van der Berg and Kennedy, 1983). Anaerobicfermentation being a slow process, a large HRT of 30–50daysisusedinconventionalbiogasplants.Thisleadstoalarge volume of the digester and hence high cost of thesystem. The decrease in gas generation during winterseason has been reported which, poses a serious problemin the practical application of this technology. Kalia andSingh (1996) found that biogas production reduced fromaround 1700 l/day in May–July to around 99l/d in Jan-uary–February. All this has resulted in restricted popu-larization of biogas technology in rural areas. Thus thereis a need to improve the overall efficiency of anaerobicdigestionprocessinthebiogasplants.Thiscouldbedoneby several methods such as optimizing the variousoperational parameters, satisfying the nutritionalrequirements of microbes (Lettinga et al., 1980; Wilkieand Colleran, 1986), using different biological andchemical additives and by manipulating the feed pro-
Corresponding author. Fax: +91-11-26591121.
E-mail address:
santoshsatya_iitd@hotmail.com(Santosh).0960-8524/$ - see front matter
2004 Published by Elsevier Ltd.doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2004.02.010Bioresource Technology xxx (2004) xxx–xxx
portions (Sanders and Bloodgood, 1965; Nyns, 1986).Recirculation of digested slurry (washed out microbes)back into the reactor and modification in the design of existing biogas plants are some of the other ways toimprove the gas production in biogas plants. Recently,efforts have been made to either reduce the HRT or en-hance biogas production for the same HRT by incor-porating fixed film matrices in thereactors, which help toretain microbes in the reactors. Recently ultrasonifica-tion of wastewater has been found to enhance the re-moval of COD by almost 10% (McDermott et al., 2001).A review of Indian advances in biogas technology wasprepared by Singh and Maheshwari (1995). This paperpresented a comprehensive view of the various methods,which could be used to enhance the gas production ratefrom the solid substrates.
2. Process and mechanism of biomethanation
The anaerobic biological conversion of organic mat-ter occurs in three steps. The first step involves the en-zyme-mediated transformation of insoluble organicmaterial and higher molecular mass compounds such aslipids, polysaccharides, proteins, fats, nucleic acids, etc.into soluble organic materials, i.e. to compounds suit-able for the use as source of energy and cell carbon suchas monosaccharides, amino acids and other simple or-ganic compounds. This step is called the hydrolysis andis carried out by strict anaerobes such as
and facultative bacteria such as
,etc. In the second step, acidogenesis, another group of microorganisms ferments the break-down products toacetic acid, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and other lowerweight simple volatile organic acids like propionic acidand butyric acid which are in turn converted to aceticacid. In the third step, these acetic acid, hydrogen andcarbon dioxide are converted into a mixture of methaneand carbon dioxide by the methanogenic bacteria (ace-tate utilizers like
spp. and
spp. and hydrogen and formate utilizing species like
, etc.).The threestages of methane fermentation are shown in Fig. 1.
3. Techniques for enhancing biogas production
Different methods used to enhance biogas productioncan be classified into the following categories:ii(i) Use of additivesi(ii) Recycling of slurry and slurry filtrate(iii) Variation in operational parameters like tempera-ture, hydraulic retention time (HRT) and particlesize of the substrate(iv) Use of fixed film/biofilters
3.1. Use of additives
Some attempts have been made in the past to increasegas production by stimulating the microbial activityusing various biological and chemical additives underdifferent operating conditions. Biological additives in-clude different plants, weeds (Gunaseelan, 1987), cropresidues, microbial cultures, etc., which are availablenaturally in the surroundings. As such, generally theseare of less significance in terms of their use in the hab-itat, however if used as additives in biogas plant couldimprove its performance significantly. The suitability of an additive is expected to be strongly dependent on thetype of substrate.
3.1.1. Green biomass
Powdered leaves of some plants and legumes (likeGulmohar,
Leucacena leucocephala
Acacia auriculifor-mis
Dalbergia sisoo
Eucalyptus tereticonius)
havebeen found to stimulate biogas production between 18%and 40% (SPOBD, China, 1979; Chowdhry et al., 1994).Increase in biogas production due to certain additivesappears to be due to adsorption of the substrate on thesurface of the additives. This can lead to high-localizedsubstrate concentration and a more favourable envi-ronment for growth of microbes (Chandra and Gupta,1997). The additives also help to maintain favourableconditions for rapid gas production in the reactor, suchas pH, inhibition/promotion of acetogenesis and meth-anogenesis for the best yield, etc. Alkali treated (1%NaOH for 7 days) plant residues (lantana, wheat straw,apple leaf litter and peach leaf litter) when used as asupplement to cattle dung resulted in almost twofoldincrease in biogas and CH
production (Dar and Tan-don, 1987). Partially decomposed ageratum produced43% and
Euphorbia tirucalli L
. produced 14% more gasas compared to pure cattle dung (Kalia and Kanwar,1989; Rajasekaran et al., 1989). Trujillo et al. (1993)found that the addition of the tomato-plant wastes tothe rabbit wastes in proportion higher than 40% im-proved the methane production. Crop residues likemaize stalks, rice straw, cotton stalks, wheat straw andwater hyacinth each enriched with partially digestedcattle dung enhanced gas production in the range of 10– 
Fig. 1. Different stages of methane fermentation.2
Yadvika et al. / Bioresource Technology xxx (2004) xxx–xxx
80% (El Shinnawi et al., 1989; Somayaji and Khanna,1994). Babu et al. (1994) observed improvement inbiomethanation of mango processing wastes by severalfolds by the addition of extracts of seeds of Nirmali,common bean, black gram, guar and guargum at therate of 1500 ppm. Mixture of 
Pistia stratiotes
andcowdung (1:1) gave a biogas yield of 0.62 m
76.8%, HRT
15 days) (Zennaki et al., 1998).Recently Sharma (2002) observed an increase of 40–80%in biogas production on addition of 1% onion storagewaste (OSW) to cattle dung in a 400-l floating drumbiogas reactor.
3.1.2. Microbial strains
Strains of some bacteria and fungi have also beenfound to enhance gas production by stimulating theactivity of particular enzymes. Cellulolytic strains of bacteria like actinomycetes and mixed consortia havebeen found to improve biogas production in the range of 8.4–44% from cattle dung (Tirumale and Nand, 1994;Attar et al., 1998). All the strains exhibited a range of activity of all the enzymes involved in cellulose degra-dation, viz.
enzyme, exglucanase, endoglucanase,
-glucosidase. It seemed that endoglucanase activity wasof central importance for the hydrolysis of cellulose.Geeta et al. (1994) found that sugarcane bagasse pre-treated with
Phanerochaete chrysosporium
for 3 weeksunder ambient temperature conditions produced highergas with cattle excreta. Dohanyos et al. (1997) examinedthe use of cell lysate as a stimulating agent in anaerobicdegradation of municipal raw sludge, excess activatedsludge and their mixture. The effect of lysate is caused bythe still remaining activity of released enzymes and bythe stimulating properties of other compounds that arepresent inside the cells. The improvement of CH
yieldfrom thickened activated sludge ranged from 8.1% to86.4% while in case of a mixture of thickened activatedsludge and primary sludge it was found to vary from 0%to 24%.
3.1.3. Inorganic additives
Several inorganic additives that improve gas pro-duction have also been reported. Shimizu (1992) claimedthat higher concentration of bacteria could be retainedin the digester by the addition of metal cations sincecations increase the density of the bacteria, which arecapable of aggregating by themselves. Wong andCheung (1995) found that the plant with a higher con-tent of heavy metals (Cr, Cu, Ni and Zn) had a higherCH
yield than the control. The addition of iron salts atvarious concentrations [FeSO
(50 mM), FeCl
M)]have been found to enhance gas production rate(Wodzinski et al., 1983; Patel et al., 1993; Rao andSeenayya, 1994; Clark and Hillman, 1995). Nickel ions(2.5 and 5 ppm) enhanced biogas up to 54% due to theactivity of Ni-dependent metallo-enzymes involved inbiogas production (Geeta et al., 1990). Addition of rockphosphate (RP) proved superior to single super phos-phate (SSP) while digesting rice straw in batch fer-menters (Bardiya and Gaur, 1997). Malik et al. (1987)obtained an increase of 8–11% by the addition of ureaand diammonium phosphate (DAP).Certain adsorbents are also reported to improve gasproduction for example Madamwar and Mithal (1986)obtained a maximum enhancement of over 150% withhigher CH
content (65% CH
) on addition of 10 g/lcommercial pectin. According to Kumar et al. (1987)commercial charcoal Darco G-60 resulted in 17% and34.7% increase in biogas in batch and semi continuousfermenters, respectively. Also, the locally producedwood charcoal (16% enhancement in biogas) was foundas good as the commercial charcoal in batch digesters.Patel et al. (1992) found a trend of enhanced gas pro-duction with high CH
content and lower effluent BODand COD with increasing doses of different adsorbents(gelatin, polyvinyl alcohol, powdered activatedcharcoal, pectin, kaolin, silica gel, aluminium powder,bentonite and tale powder) on anaerobic digestion of water-hyacinth-cattle dung. They observed (Patel andMadamwar, 1994) a twofold increase in gas productionon addition of 4 g/l silica gel, with CH
content of 72.8%as compared to control (62%). Process stability in-creased with increasing levels of silica gel, indicating thatvolatile acids were consumed at a faster rate in thepresence of an adsorbent.Using Ca and Mg salts as energy supplements, CH
production was enhanced and foaming was avoided(Mathiesen, 1989). Dhawale (1996) found 25–35%enhancement in anaerobic digestion of manure by theaddition of Eosin blue dye at 0.1
M concentration.Gaddy (1994) found a new method for improving theperformance of anaerobic digestion of solid substrate. Itinvolved the addition of at least 1-chelating agent(preferably 1–100
M, especially 10
M) 1:2 diamino-cyclohexane-
, tetraacetic acid, EDTA, citric acid ornitrilotriacetic acid (NTA)) and at least one nutrient(preferably 1–5000
M (10
M)) of iron, sulfide, sele-nium or nickel, especially FeSO
, FeCl
, SeO
or NiCl
)to a solid substrate for solubilizing solid nutrients toenhance bacterial growth. Methane production can beincreased or smaller digesters can be used to achieve thesame methane production. Faster start up, greater sta-bility and more rapid recovery from upsets were possibleby using this new method.
3.2. Gas enhancement through recycling of digesteslurry/slurry filtrate
The recirculation of digested slurry back into thereactor has been shown to improve the gas productionmarginally, since the microbes washed away are rein-troduced back into the reactor, thereby providing an
Yadvika et al. / Bioresource Technology xxx (2004) xxx–xxx

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