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Stable biogas production from single-stage anaerobic digestion of food waste

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Burhan ShamuradORCiD, Dr Paul Sallis, Dr Evangelos Petropoulos, Shamas Tabraiz, Dr Peter Leary, Dr Jan DolfingORCiD, Emeritus Professor Neil GrayORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Anaerobic digestion is widely used for the management of the organic fraction of municipal solid waste and is also predicted to play a vital role in the future of renewable energy production. However, reactor instability due to low acid buffering capacity at high organic loading rates in single stage reactors is a known risk of this technology. Such process instability represents a risk to electricity and heat generation through interruptions to biogas production. Co-digestion and trace element supplementation have each been advocated as strategies to stabilize biogas production, but the relative merits of these strategies have never been assessed. Here we operated a series of anaerobic continuously stirred tank reactors fed with synthetic organic household waste with or without trace element supplementation and with or without wheat straw as co-substrate at gradually increasing loading rates. Stable and high methane yields (450 - 550 mL/g VS) at higher organic loading rates were only maintained with trace element supplementation, regardless of co-digestion. We conclude that trace element supplementation was hierarchically more important than co-digestion at maintaining stable biogas production.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shamurad B, Sallis P, Petropoulos E, Tabraiz S, Ospina C, Leary P, Dolfing J, Gray N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Applied Energy

Year: 2020

Volume: 263

Print publication date: 01/04/2020

Online publication date: 17/02/2020

Acceptance date: 03/02/2020

Date deposited: 04/02/2020

ISSN (print): 0306-2619

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2020.114609


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