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Energies 2018, 11(6), 1466;

Biogas from Fresh Spring and Summer Grass: Effect of the Harvesting Period

Department of Agricultural, Food, Animal and Environmental Sciences (DI4A), University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy
Department of Agroforesty and Landscape, University of Padua, 35020 Legnaro, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 May 2018 / Revised: 1 June 2018 / Accepted: 4 June 2018 / Published: 6 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Production and Utilization of Biogas)
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Yard trimmings, landscape management and agricultural practices determine the collection of biomass currently destined mainly to the production of a valuable soil amendant by composting. While composting requires energy, especially for the turning/aeration phases and for air treatment (i.e., biofilters in the case of enclosed systems), anaerobic digestion represents an energy positive process that results in production of biogas and digestate, which can be used as fuel and fertilizer, respectively. The focus of the present research was the evaluation of biogas and methane potential of grass collected in two different periods of the year (spring and summer) from riverbanks located in Northern Italy. The conversion to biogas of feedstocks is greatly influenced by the composition of the organic matter, content of cellulose, and lignin in particular. The production of biomass per hectare and the consequent biogas production were also evaluated. The experimental tests were performed on both samples of fresh grass in laboratory scale batch reactors, characterized by 4.0 L of volume and operated in mesophilic conditions (38 °C), for 40 days per cycle. The anaerobic digestion process was performed on a mixture of inoculum and grass, characterized by inoculum:substrate VS (volatile solids) ratio equal to 2. The inoculum was represented by digestate from a full-scale anaerobic digestion plant fed with dairy cow manure. The results in terms of biogas production, biogas quality (CH4, CO2, H2S), and emissions from digestates (NH3, CO2 and CH4) are presented in the paper. Total solids (TS), volatile solids (VS), pH, volatile fatty acids (VFA), alkalinity, acidity vs. alkalinity ratio, fibers (cellulose, lignin), and total Kjieldahl nitrogen (TKN) were determined both on input and output of the process. The biogas yield obtained from grass resulted higher than expected, quite similar to the yield obtained from energy crops, with Biomethane Potential (BMP) of 340.2 NL·kg−1VS and of 307.7 NL·kg−1VS, respectively, for spring and summer grass. Biogas quality was slightly lower for summer grass, perhaps in relation to the higher content of fibers (lignin). Alternatively, the yield of grass per surface was significantly different between spring and summer with the highest production in the summer. In fact, the results revealed a methane yield of 263 Nm3·ha−1 and of 1181 Nm3·ha−1, respectively for spring and summer grass. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy source; anaerobic digestion; biomethane; biogas potential; BMP; grass energy source; anaerobic digestion; biomethane; biogas potential; BMP; grass

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Chiumenti, A.; Boscaro, D.; Da Borso, F.; Sartori, L.; Pezzuolo, A. Biogas from Fresh Spring and Summer Grass: Effect of the Harvesting Period. Energies 2018, 11, 1466.

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