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Anaerobic digestion of macroalgal biomass and sediments sourced from the Orbetello lagoon, Italy

Biomass and Bioenergy
DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2012.03.030
  • Anaerobic Digestion
  • Biogas
  • Opportunistic Macroalgae
  • Methane
  • Lagoon Environment
  • Biology
  • Ecology


Abstract The anaerobic digestion of marine macroalgae biomass could meet two currently important needs, the mitigation of the eutrophication effects and the production of renewable energy. Because of the abundance of seaweed biomass its conversion can be highly desirable and convenient, mostly for countries with long coastlines or eutrophic environments. The aim of the present work is to carry out an exploratory study of biogas production from macroalgal biomass collected from the Orbetello lagoon (Tuscany, Italy) by solely exploiting the intrinsic degradation potential of the ecosystem. A fresh algae mix and sediments has been used, as both feed and inoculum of an anaerobic digestion process under psychro-mesophilic, mesophilic and thermophilic conditions, in batch reactors, without any washing and drying treatment. The presence of sediment proved to be crucial in order to achieve a good methane yield (methane yield of 380 dm3 kg−1 VSadded) comparable with literature data obtained through different approaches. The results gave evidence that such an approach will have to be considered when planning a selective anaerobic digestion of macroalgae that could be useful in local applications for coasts and eutrophic lagoons affected by seasonal or frequent algal blooms.

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