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Processing High-Solid and High-Ammonia Rich Manures in a Two-Stage (Liquid-Solid) Low-Temperature Anaerobic Digestion Process: Start-Up and Operating Strategies

  • Mahato, Prativa1,
  • Goyette, Bernard1
  • Rahaman, Md. Saifur
  • Rajagopal, Rajinikanth1
  • 1 (B.G.)
Published Article
Publication Date
Jul 25, 2020
DOI: 10.3390/bioengineering7030080
PMID: 32722477
PMCID: PMC7552754
PubMed Central


Globally, livestock and poultry production leads to total emissions of 7.1 Gigatonnes of CO2-equiv per year, representing 14.5% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Anaerobic digestion (AD) is one of the sustainable approaches to generate methane (CH4) from manure, but the risk of ammonia inhibition in high-solids AD can limit the process. Our objective was to develop a two-stage (liquid–solid) AD biotechnology, treating chicken (CM) + dairy cow (DM) manure mixtures at 20 °C using adapted liquid inoculum that could make livestock farming more sustainable. The effect of organic loading rates (OLR), cycle length, and the mode of operation (particularly liquid inoculum recirculation-percolation mode) was evaluated in a two-stage closed-loop system. After the inoculum adaptation phase, aforementioned two-stage batch-mode AD operation was conducted for the co-digestion of CM + DM (Total Solids (TS): 48–51% and Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN): 13.5 g/L) at an OLR of 3.7–4.7 gVS/L.d. Two cycles of different cycle lengths (112-d and 78-d for cycles 1 and 2, respectively) were operated with a CM:DM mix ratio of 1:1 ( w / w ) based on a fresh weight basis. Specific methane yield (SMY) of 0.35 ± 0.11 L CH4g/VSfed was obtained with a CH4 concentration of above 60% for both the cycles and Soluble Chemical Oxygen Demand (CODs) and volatile solid (VS) reductions up to 85% and 60%, respectively. For a comparison purpose, a similar batch-mode operation was conducted for mono-digestion of CM (TS: 65–73% and TKN: 21–23 g/L), which resulted in a SMY of 0.52 ± 0.13 L CH4g/VSfed. In terms of efficiency towards methane-rich biogas production and ammonia inhibitions, CM + DM co-digestion showed comparatively better quality methane and generated lower free ammonia than CM mono-digestion. Further study is underway to optimize the operating parameters for the co-digestion process and to overcome inhibitions and high energy demand, especially for cold countries.

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