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Open AccessArticle

In Situ Acoustic Treatment of Anaerobic Digesters to Improve Biogas Yields

United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Food Animal Environmental Systems Research Unit, 2413 Nashville Road, Suite B5, Bowling Green, KY 42101, USA
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Environments 2020, 7(2), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7020011
Received: 31 December 2019 / Revised: 4 February 2020 / Accepted: 6 February 2020 / Published: 8 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wastewater and Solid Waste Treatment)
Sound has the potential to increase biogas yields and enhance wastewater degradation in anaerobic digesters. To assess this potential, two pilot-scale digestion systems were operated, with one exposed to sound at less than 10 kHz and with one acting as a control. Sounds used were sine waves, broadband noise, and orchestral compositions. Weekly biogas production from sound-treated digesters was 18,900 L, more than twice that of the control digester. The sound-treated digesters were primarily exposed to orchestral compositions, because this made cavitational events easier to identify and because harmonic and amplitude shifts in music seem to induce more cavitation. Background recordings from the sound-treated digester were louder and had more cavitational events than those of the control digester, which we ascribe to enhanced microbial growth and the resulting accelerated sludge breakdown. Acoustic cavitation, vibrational energy imparted to wastewater and sludge, and mixing due to a release of bubbles from the sludge may all act in concert to accelerate wastewater degradation and boost biogas production. View Full-Text
Keywords: acoustic cavitation; anaerobic digestion; biogas; green energy; methane; sonication acoustic cavitation; anaerobic digestion; biogas; green energy; methane; sonication
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MDPI and ACS Style

Loughrin, J.; Antle, S.; Sistani, K.; Lovanh, N. In Situ Acoustic Treatment of Anaerobic Digesters to Improve Biogas Yields. Environments 2020, 7, 11.

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