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Biogas Production-Converting Waste to Energy and Bio-Products of Added Value

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "A4: Bio-Energy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2023) | Viewed by 23644

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
CIRCE-Research Centre for Energy Resources and Consumption (CIRCE Foundation - University of Zaragoza), Parque Empresarial Dinamiza, Avenida Ranillas 3D, 1a Planta, 50018 Zaragoza, Spain
Interests: waste into biogas; biogas bioconversion into molecules of added value; microbial electrochemistry fundamentals; electrons transfer mechanisms among bacteria and electrode materials; wastewater treatment through microbial fuel cells; microbial electrosynthesis of molecules from CO2
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
CIRCE–Technology Centre, 50018 Zaragoza, Spain
Interests: decarbonization strategies; biomass; sustainability; waste valorisation; recycling technologies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
CIRCE–Technology Centre, 50018 Zaragoza, Spain
Interests: industrial decarbonization; biomass; bioenergy; valorisation; thermochemical technologies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The production of biogas is a well-established technology all over the world, used to valorize all types of organic material resources into methane. CH4 is the main component of biogas at percentages ranging from 45% to 70%, depending on the feedstock. Once purified, it can be used to generate power or heat efficiently and safely with the proper equipment. The energy generated can either be locally used on site at farms or wastewater treatment plants where the feedstock is generated to cover the farm’s/plant’s energy needs totally or to some extent. There is no doubt about the effectiveness of the anaerobic digestion process in bioconverting organic material resources. However, its economic sustainability is questioned today by how well it is able to cope against other energy sources, such as natural gas, and decreasing prices of renewable electricity. Therefore, alternatives that confer higher added value to biogas production are needed to guarantee the cost-competitiveness of anaerobic digestion.

In this Special Issue, we are looking for contributions that demonstrate that the anaerobic digestion process is a robust, well-established technology capable of bioconverting a broad range of feedstocks into biogas. We welcome contributions with special emphasis on the use of industrial-derived organic waste to show the feasibility of the technology for the production of energy from biogas with the aim of decarbonizing the economy. With this Special Issue, we would like to use a holistic approach to cover several aspects around biogas production, from the pretreatment of not easily degradable biomass such as that with a high content of lignocellulose, through the microbiology of the anaerobic digestion process, to chemical and biobased upgrading methodologies to obtain biomethane which can be used as a renewable alternative to substitute fossil fuel-based natural gas.

Finally, technologies that confer further value to biogas will also be considered for this Special Issue. Such emerging technologies give added value to biogas by using novel strategies that employ methanotrophs (methane-oxidizing bacteria) that bioconvert CH4 into molecules of industrial interest.

Dr. Alessandro A. Carmona-Martínez
Dr. Carmen Bartolomé Rubio
Dr. Clara Ángela Jarauta Córdoba
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Biogas production
  • Novel feedstock pretreatments
  • Biohythane production
  • Anaerobic digestion microbiology
  • Biogas upgrading technologies
  • Digestate applications
  • Biogas bioconversion
  • Carbon capture and utilization

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 196 KiB  
Editorial
The Role of Biogas and Biomethane as Renewable Gases in the Decarbonization Pathway to Zero Emissions
by Alessandro A. Carmona-Martínez, Carmen Bartolomé and Clara A. Jarauta-Córdoba
Energies 2023, 16(17), 6164; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16176164 - 24 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 773
Abstract
The production of biogas through the conversion of organic waste into energy and bio-products of added value has the potential to play a significant role in the transition towards a more sustainable and decarbonized energy system [...] Full article

Research

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14 pages, 1473 KiB  
Article
Anaerobic Digestion of Olive Mill Wastewater in the Presence of Biochar
by Luca Micoli, Giuseppe Di Rauso Simeone, Maria Turco, Giuseppe Toscano and Maria A. Rao
Energies 2023, 16(7), 3259; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16073259 - 5 Apr 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1663
Abstract
Biological treatments focused on stabilizing and detoxifying olive mill wastewater facilitate agronomic reuse for irrigation and fertilization. Anaerobic digestion is particularly attractive in view of energy recovery, but is severely hampered by the microbial toxicity of olive mill wastewater. In this work, the [...] Read more.
Biological treatments focused on stabilizing and detoxifying olive mill wastewater facilitate agronomic reuse for irrigation and fertilization. Anaerobic digestion is particularly attractive in view of energy recovery, but is severely hampered by the microbial toxicity of olive mill wastewater. In this work, the addition of biochar to the digestion mixture was studied to improve the stability and efficiency of the anaerobic process. Kinetics and yields of biogas production were evaluated in batch digestion tests with biochar concentrations ranging from 0 to 45 g L−1. The addition of biochar reduced sensibly the lag phase for methanogenesis and increased the maximum rate of biogas generation. Final yields of hydrogen and methane were not affected. Upon addition of biochar, soluble COD removal increased from 66% up to 84%, and phenolics removal increased from 50% up to 95%. Digestate phytotoxicity, as measured by seed germination tests, was reduced compared to raw wastewater. Addition of biochar further reduced phytotoxicity and, furthermore, a stimulatory effect was observed for a twenty-fold dilution. In conclusion, biochar addition enhances the anaerobic digestion of olive mill wastewaters by effectively reducing methanogenesis inhibition and digestate phytotoxicity, thus improving energy and biomass recovery. Full article
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11 pages, 1428 KiB  
Article
Changes in Stabile Organic Carbon in Differently Managed Fluvisol Treated by Two Types of Anaerobic Digestate
by Alvyra Slepetiene, Mykola Kochiieru, Aida Skersiene, Audrone Mankeviciene and Olgirda Belova
Energies 2022, 15(16), 5876; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15165876 - 13 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1207
Abstract
Biogas and anaerobic digestion has begun to be considered an important renewable and sustainable energy source. The sustainable development of the anaerobic digestion process depends largely on the ability to manage large amounts of by-products generated during the biogas production process. We hypothesized [...] Read more.
Biogas and anaerobic digestion has begun to be considered an important renewable and sustainable energy source. The sustainable development of the anaerobic digestion process depends largely on the ability to manage large amounts of by-products generated during the biogas production process. We hypothesized that the use of digestate increases the accumulation of C in stable forms. We supposed that the effect of digestate on soil depends on the land-use system, leading to different stratifications of C. The main task of our research was to ascertain changes in the amount of stabile organic carbon (SOCstabile) in digestate-treated soils. Two field experiments were performed using the same design in 2019–2020. We studied the fertilization effects of digestate on Fluvisol. Fertilization: control; separated liquid digestate 85 kg ha−1 N and 170 kg ha−1 170 N; separated solid digestate 85 kg ha−1 N and 170 kg ha−1 N. A randomized experimental design with three field replicates was used. In terms of carbon stabilization in Fluvisol, soil used for grassland showed an advantage over the arable soil. The study showed that digestate, especially solid digestate, contributes to C accumulation and stabilization in the soil. Full article
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17 pages, 1867 KiB  
Article
Dry Anaerobic Digestion of the Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste: Biogas Production Optimization by Reducing Ammonia Inhibition
by Elena Rossi, Isabella Pecorini, Giovanni Ferrara and Renato Iannelli
Energies 2022, 15(15), 5515; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15155515 - 29 Jul 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2412
Abstract
The aim of this work is to optimize biogas production from thermophilic dry anaerobic digestion (AD) of the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) by comparing various operational strategies to reduce ammonia inhibition. A pilot-scale plug flow reactor (PFR) operated semi-continuously for [...] Read more.
The aim of this work is to optimize biogas production from thermophilic dry anaerobic digestion (AD) of the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) by comparing various operational strategies to reduce ammonia inhibition. A pilot-scale plug flow reactor (PFR) operated semi-continuously for 170 days. Three scenarios with different feedstock, namely solely OFMSW, OFMSW supplemented with structural material, and OFMSW altered to have an optimal carbon-to-nitrogen (C/N) ratio, were tested. Specific biogas production (SGP), specific methane production (SMP), the biogas production rate (GPR), and bioenergy recovery were evaluated to assess the process performance. In addition, process stability was monitored to highlight process problems, and digestate was characterized for utilization as fertilizer. The OFMSW and the structural material revealed an unbalanced content of C and N. The ammonia concentration decreased when the optimal C/N ratio was tested and was reduced by 72% if compared with feeding solely OFMSW. In such conditions, optimal biogas production was obtained, operating with an organic loading rate (OLR) equal to 12.7 gVS/(L d). In particular, the SGP result was 361.27 ± 30.52 NLbiogas/kgVS, the GPR was 5.11 NLbiogas/(Lr d), and the potential energy recovery was 8.21 ± 0.9 MJ/kgVS. Nevertheless, the digestate showed an accumulation of heavy metals and low aerobic stability. Full article
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15 pages, 840 KiB  
Article
Energy Potential of Biogas from Sewage Sludge after Thermal Hydrolysis and Digestion
by Jakub Mukawa, Tadeusz Pająk, Tadeusz Rzepecki and Marian Banaś
Energies 2022, 15(14), 5255; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15145255 - 20 Jul 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2184
Abstract
This paper presents the energy potential of biogas obtained from the anaerobic digestion (AD) of sewage sludge (SS) preceded by thermal hydrolysis (THP) using Cambi THP® technology. The presented data are for the Tarnów (Poland) wastewater treatment plant for the year 2020. [...] Read more.
This paper presents the energy potential of biogas obtained from the anaerobic digestion (AD) of sewage sludge (SS) preceded by thermal hydrolysis (THP) using Cambi THP® technology. The presented data are for the Tarnów (Poland) wastewater treatment plant for the year 2020. A detailed energy balance of biogas and its use in the cogeneration process and in the production of heat in the water boiler and the steam boiler is presented. The article contains data on the amount of processed SS and the content of dry matter and dry organic matter at different stages of the technological process. The annual plant operation resulted in the production of 3,276,497 Nm3 of biogas as a result of processing 8684 tonnes of dry solids (tDS) of municipal SS from the Tarnów wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and regional WWTPs. The energy potential of the produced biogas was 75,347.06 GJ. The average calorific value of biogas was 23,021 kJ/Nm3.. The obtained biogas production allowed us to cover the thermal energy demand of the THP 100%. The annual average specific biogas conversion rate during the study period was 0.761 Nm3/kg of dry organic matter reduced and the average organic matter content reduction in the sludge was 64.60%. Full article
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17 pages, 1415 KiB  
Article
Anaerobic Digestion of Pig Slurry in Fixed-Bed and Expanded Granular Sludge Bed Reactors
by Jurek Häner, Tobias Weide, Alexander Naßmacher, Roberto Eloy Hernández Regalado, Christof Wetter and Elmar Brügging
Energies 2022, 15(12), 4414; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15124414 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2430
Abstract
Anaerobic digestion of animal manure is a potential bioenergy resource that avoids greenhouse gas emissions. However, the conventional approach is to use continuously stirred tank reactors (CSTRs) with hydraulic retention times (HRTs) of greater than 30 d. Reactors with biomass retention were investigated [...] Read more.
Anaerobic digestion of animal manure is a potential bioenergy resource that avoids greenhouse gas emissions. However, the conventional approach is to use continuously stirred tank reactors (CSTRs) with hydraulic retention times (HRTs) of greater than 30 d. Reactors with biomass retention were investigated in this study in order to increase the efficiency of the digestion process. Filtered pig slurry was used as a substrate in an expanded granular sludge bed (EGSB) reactor and fixed-bed (FB) reactor. The highest degradation efficiency (ηCOD) and methane yield (MY) relative to the chemical oxygen demand (COD) were observed at the minimum loading rates, with MY = 262 L/kgCOD and ηCOD = 73% for the FB reactor and MY = 292 L/kgCOD and ηCOD = 76% for the EGSB reactor. The highest daily methane production rate (MPR) was observed at the maximum loading rate, with MPR = 3.00 m3/m3/d at HRT = 2 d for the FB reactor and MPR = 2.16 m3/m3/d at HRT = 3 d for the EGSB reactor. For both reactors, a reduction in HRT was possible compared to conventionally driven CSTRs, with the EGSB reactor offering a higher methane yield and production rate at a shorter HRT. Full article
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20 pages, 2348 KiB  
Article
Techno-Economic Assessment of Solid–Liquid Biogas Treatment Plants for the Agro-Industrial Sector
by Roberto Eloy Hernández Regalado, Jurek Häner, Elmar Brügging and Jens Tränckner
Energies 2022, 15(12), 4413; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15124413 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1893
Abstract
The urgent need to meet climate goals provides unique opportunities to promote small-scale farm anaerobic digesters that valorize on-site wastes for producing renewable electricity and heat, thereby cushioning agribusinesses against energy perturbations. This study explored the economic viability of mono-digestion of cow manure [...] Read more.
The urgent need to meet climate goals provides unique opportunities to promote small-scale farm anaerobic digesters that valorize on-site wastes for producing renewable electricity and heat, thereby cushioning agribusinesses against energy perturbations. This study explored the economic viability of mono-digestion of cow manure (CWM) and piglet manure (PM) in small manured-based 99 kWel plants using three treatment schemes (TS): (1) typical agricultural biogas plant, (2) a single-stage expanded granular sludge bed (EGSB) reactor, and (3) a multistage EGSB with a continuous stirred tank reactor. The economic evaluation attempted to take advantage of the financial incentives provided by The Renewable Energy Sources Act in Germany. To evaluate these systems, batch tests on raw and solid substrate fractions were conducted. For the liquid fraction, data of continuous tests obtained in a laboratory was employed. The economical evaluation was based on the dynamic indicators of net present value and internal return rate (IRR). Sensitivity analyses of the electricity and heat selling prices and hydraulic retention time were also performed. Furthermore, an incremental analysis of IRR was conducted to determine the most profitable alternative. The most influential variable was electricity selling price, and the most profitable alternatives were TS1 (CWM) > TS1 (PM) > TS3 (CWM). However, further studies on co-digestion using TS3 are recommended because this scheme potentially provides the greatest technical flexibility and highest environmental sustainability. Full article
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13 pages, 1436 KiB  
Article
Comparative Fuel Yield from Anaerobic Digestion of Emerging Waste in Food and Brewery Systems
by Tess Herman, Emily Nungesser, Kimberley E. Miller and Sarah C. Davis
Energies 2022, 15(4), 1538; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15041538 - 19 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1489
Abstract
Food waste (FW), a major part of the US waste stream, causes greenhouse gases within landfills, but there is an opportunity to divert FW to anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities that produce biogas and digestate fertilizer. The composition of FW inputs to AD determines [...] Read more.
Food waste (FW), a major part of the US waste stream, causes greenhouse gases within landfills, but there is an opportunity to divert FW to anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities that produce biogas and digestate fertilizer. The composition of FW inputs to AD determines the value of these products. This study provides insight into the effect of waste composition on the quality of AD products by first characterizing the biogas and digestate quality of anaerobically digested FW from four diets (paleolithic, ketogenic, vegetarian, and omnivorous), and then estimating the difference in biogas produced from codigested FW and brewery waste (BW). Waste feedstock mixtures were incubated in lab-scale bioreactors for 21 days with live inoculum. Biogas quality was monitored for 21–30 days in four trials. Samples were analyzed using a gas chromatograph for detection of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The composition of the waste inputs had a significant impact on the quality of biogas but not on the quality of the digestate, which has implications for the value of post-AD fertilizer products. Wastes with higher proportions of proteins and fats enhanced biogas quality, unlike wastes that were rich in soluble carbohydrates. Codigestion of omnivorous food waste with carbon-rich agricultural wastes (AW) improved biogas quality, but biogas produced from BW does not necessarily improve with increasing amounts of AW in codigestion. Full article
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16 pages, 1144 KiB  
Article
Effect of the Substrate to Inoculum Ratios on the Kinetics of Biogas Production during the Mesophilic Anaerobic Digestion of Food Waste
by Aakash Khadka, Anmol Parajuli, Sheila Dangol, Bijay Thapa, Lokesh Sapkota, Alessandro A. Carmona-Martínez and Anish Ghimire
Energies 2022, 15(3), 834; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15030834 - 24 Jan 2022
Cited by 39 | Viewed by 4650
Abstract
This study evaluates the effects of the varying substrate to inoculum ratios (S:I) of 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 (volatile solids/VS basis) on the kinetics of biogas production during batch mesophilic (35 ± 1 °C) anaerobic digestion (AD) of simulated [...] Read more.
This study evaluates the effects of the varying substrate to inoculum ratios (S:I) of 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 (volatile solids/VS basis) on the kinetics of biogas production during batch mesophilic (35 ± 1 °C) anaerobic digestion (AD) of simulated food waste (FW), using anaerobic digestate as the inoculum. Kinetic parameters during biogas production (scrubbed with NaOH solution) are predicted by the first-order and the modified Gompertz model. The observed average specific biogas yields are in descending order corresponding to the S:I ratios 1, 2, 4, 6, 3, 5, and 0.5, respectively, and the significant effect of the S:I ratio was observed. The tests with the S:I of 1 have the maximum average biogas production rates of 88.56 NmL/gVS.d, whereas tests with the S:I of 6 exhibited the lowest production rates (24.61 NmL/gVS.d). The maximum biogas yields, predicted by the first order and the modified Gompertz model, are 668.65 NmL/gVS (experimental 674.40 ± 29.10 NmL/gVS) and 653.17 NmL/gVS, respectively. The modified Gompertz model has been proven to be suitable in predicting biogas production from FW. VS removal efficiency is greater in higher S:I ratios, with a maximum of 78.80 % at the S:I ratio of 6, supported by the longer incubation time. Moreover, a significant effect of the S:I ratio is seen on kinetics and energy recovery from the AD of FW. Full article
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20 pages, 2126 KiB  
Article
Geospatial Analysis and Environmental Impact Assessment of a Holistic and Interdisciplinary Approach to the Biogas Sector
by Robert Bedoić, Goran Smoljanić, Tomislav Pukšec, Lidija Čuček, Davor Ljubas and Neven Duić
Energies 2021, 14(17), 5374; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14175374 - 29 Aug 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2370
Abstract
Crop-based biogas energy production, in combination with electricity generation under subsidy schemes, is no longer considered a favourable business model for biogas plants. Switching to low-cost or gate fee feedstocks and utilising biogas via alternative pathways could contribute to making existing plants fit [...] Read more.
Crop-based biogas energy production, in combination with electricity generation under subsidy schemes, is no longer considered a favourable business model for biogas plants. Switching to low-cost or gate fee feedstocks and utilising biogas via alternative pathways could contribute to making existing plants fit for future operations and could open up new space for further expansion of the biogas sector. The aim of this study was to combine a holistic and interdisciplinary approach for both the biogas production side and the utilisation side to evaluate the impact of integrating the biogas sector with waste management systems and energy systems operating with a high share of renewable energy sources. The geospatial availability of residue materials from agriculture, industry and municipalities was assessed using QGIS software for the case of Northern Croatia with the goal of replacing maize silage in the operation of existing biogas plants. Furthermore, the analysis included positioning new biogas plants, which would produce renewable gas. The overall approach was evaluated through life cycle assessment using SimaPro software to quantify the environmental benefits and identify the bottlenecks of the implemented actions. The results showed that the given feedstocks could replace 212 GWh of biogas from maize silage in the relevant region and create an additional 191 GWh of biomethane in new plants. The LCA revealed that the proposed measures would contribute to the decarbonisation of natural gas by creating environmental benefits that are 36 times greater compared to a business-as-usual concept. The presented approach could be of interest to stakeholders in the biogas sector anywhere in the world to encourage further integration of biogas technologies into energy and environmental transitions. Full article
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