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Biomethanation of herbaceous biomass residues using 3-zone plug flow like digesters - A case study from India

Chanakya, HN and Reddy, BVV and Modak, Jayant (2009) Biomethanation of herbaceous biomass residues using 3-zone plug flow like digesters - A case study from India. In: Renewable Energy, 34 (2). pp. 416-420.

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Abstract

Biomethanation of herbaceous biomass feedstock has the potential to provide clean energy source for cooking and other activities in areas where such biomass availability predominates. A biomethanation concept that involves fermentation of biomass residues in three steps, occurring in three zones of the fermentor is described. This approach while attempting take advantage of multistage reactors simplifies the reactor operation and obviates the need for a high degree of process control or complex reactor design. Typical herbaceous biomass decompose with a rapid VFA flux initially (with a tendency to float) followed by a slower decomposition showing balanced process of VFA generation and its utilization by methanogens that colonize biomass slowly. The tendency to float at the initial stages is suppressed by allowing previous days feed to hold it below digester liquid which permits VFA to disperse into the digester liquid without causing process inhibition. This approach has been used to build and operate simple biomass digesters to provide cooking gas in rural areas with weed and agro-residues. With appropriate modifications, the same concept has been used for digesting municipal solid wastes in small towns where large fermentors are not viable. With further modifications this concept has been used for solid-liquid feed fermentors. Methanogen colonized leaf biomass has been used as biofilm support to treat coffee processing wastewater as well as crop litter alternately in a year. During summer it functions as a biomass based biogas plants operating in the three-zone mode while in winter, feeding biomass is suspended and high strength coffee processing wastewater is let into the fermentor achieving over 90% BOD reduction. The early field experience of these fermentors is presented.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Elsevier Science.
Keywords: Biomass biogas plant;Multi-feed digester;Anaerobic digestion; Coffee wastewater;3-Zone biomass fermentor.
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Civil Engineering
Division of Mechanical Sciences > Chemical Engineering
Date Deposited: 28 May 2009 07:04
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 05:30
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/19915

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