Experimental investigation and mathematical modelling of batch and semi-continuous anaerobic digestion of cellulose at high concentrations and long residence times

I. O. Bolaji, D. Dionisi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

In the context of the anaerobic digestion of slowly biodegradable substrates for energy and chemicals production, this study investigated the anaerobic digestion of cellulose without any chemical pre-treatments using open (undefined) mixed microbial cultures. The anaerobic conversion of cellulose was investigated in extended-length (run length in the range 518–734 days) batch and semi-continuous runs (residence time 20–80 days), at high cellulose concentration (20–40 g L−1), at temperatures of 25 and 35 °C. The maximum cellulose removal was 77% in batch (after 412 days) and 60% (at 80 days residence time) in semi-continuous experiments. In semi-continuous experiments, cellulose removal increased as the residence time increased however the cellulose removal rate showed a maximum (0.17 g L−1 day−1) at residence time 40–60 days. Both cellulose removal and removal rate decreased when cellulose concentration in the feed was increased from 20 to 40 g L−1. Liquid-phase products (ethanol and short chain organic acids) were only observed under transient conditions but not at the steady state of semi-continuous runs. Most of the observed results were well described by a mathematical model which included cellulose hydrolysis and growth on the produced glucose. The model provided insight into the physical phenomena behind the observed results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number778
Number of pages14
JournalSN Applied Sciences
Volume3
Issue number9
Early online date19 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Batch
  • Cellulose
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Semi-continuous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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