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Special Issue "Biogas for Rural Areas "

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Ivet Ferrer

Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Group of Environmental Engineering and Microbiology, Barcelona, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: biodegradable waste; microalgae, sewage sludge, biogas; anaerobic digestion; co-digestion; biomass pretreatment; life cycle assessment (LCA); low-tech digesters
Guest Editor
Dr. Stephanie Lansing

University of Maryland, Department of Environmental Science & Technology, College Park USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: biogas; anaerobic digestion; life cycle assessment (LCA); wastewater treatment; manure; food waste; low-cost; algae
Guest Editor
Dr. Jaime Martí-Herrero

1. Universidad Regional Amazónica Ikiam, Tena, Ecuador
2. Centre Internacional de Mètodes Numèrics en Enginyeria (CIMNE), Terrassa, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: anaerobic digestion; waste to energy; low technology; biogas; thermal performance

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Bioenergy is renewable energy obtained from biomass—any organic material that has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy. Biogas is among the biofuels that can be obtained from biomass resources, including biodegradable wastes like manure, sewage sludge, the organic fraction of municipal solid wastes, slaughterhouse waste, crop residues, and more recently lignocellulosic biomass and algae. Within the framework of the circular economy, biogas production from biodegradable waste is particularly interesting, as it helps to save resources while reducing environmental pollution. Besides, lignocellulosic biomass and algae do not compete for arable land with food crops (in contrast with energy crops). Hence, they constitute a novel source of biomass for bioenergy.

Biogas plants may involve both high-tech and low-tech digesters, ranging from industrial-scale plants to small-scale farms and even households. They pose an alternative for decentralized bioenergy production in rural areas. Indeed, the biogas produced can be used in heaters, engines, combined heat and power units, and even cookstoves at the household level. Notwithstanding, digesters are considered to be a sustainable technology that can improve the living conditions of farmers by covering energy needs and boosting nutrient recycling. Thanks to their technical, socio-economic, and environmental benefits, rural biogas plants have been spreading around the world since the 1970s, with a large focus on farm-based systems and households. There are several opportunities to introduce rural biogas plants in small and medium populations using wastewater, agriculture wastes, and organic municipal solid wastes. However, several challenges still need to be overcome in order to improve the technology, financial viability, and dissemination.

This Special Issue aims to gather research papers on recent developments for bioenergy supply in rural areas. Papers describing new insights on bioenergy production and utilization processes; the development of new efficient technologies for biogas production and utilization; full-scale case studies; and environmental, energy, or economic assessments of decentralized biogas plants are particularly expected. Review articles are also welcome.

Dr. Ivet Ferrer
Dr. Stephanie Lansing
Dr. Jaime Martí-Herrero
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • medium- and small-scale biogas plants
  • household digesters
  • biogas and circular economy
  • biogas and decentralized waste treatment
  • decentralized bioenergy systems
  • life cycle assessment
  • environmental assessment
  • energy assessment
  • economic evaluation
  • digestate as fertilizer

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Development of a Modified Plug-Flow Anaerobic Digester for Biogas Production from Animal Manures
Energies 2019, 12(13), 2628; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12132628
Received: 13 May 2019 / Revised: 26 June 2019 / Accepted: 27 June 2019 / Published: 8 July 2019
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Abstract
Traditional plug-flow anaerobic reactors (PFRs) are characterized by lacking a mixing system and operating at high total solid concentrations, which limits their applicability for several kinds of manures. This paper studies the performance of a novel modified PFR for the treatment of pig [...] Read more.
Traditional plug-flow anaerobic reactors (PFRs) are characterized by lacking a mixing system and operating at high total solid concentrations, which limits their applicability for several kinds of manures. This paper studies the performance of a novel modified PFR for the treatment of pig manure, characterized by having an internal sludge mixing system by biogas recirculation in the range of 0.270–0.336 m3 m−3 h−1. The influence on the methane yield of four operating parameters (recirculation rate, hydraulic retention time, organic loading rate, and total solids) was evaluated by running four modified PFRs at the pilot scale in mesophilic conditions. While the previous biodegradability of organic matter by biochemical methane potential tests were between 31% and 47% with a methane yield between 125 and 184 LCH4 kgVS−1, the PFRs showed a suitable performance with organic matter degradation between 25% and 51% and a methane yield of up to 374 LCH4 kgVS−1. Operational problems such as solid stratification, foaming, or scum generation were avoided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biogas for Rural Areas )
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Mixing Regimes on Cow Manure Digestion in Impeller Mixed, Unmixed and Chinese Dome Digesters
Energies 2019, 12(13), 2540; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12132540
Received: 10 April 2019 / Revised: 13 June 2019 / Accepted: 13 June 2019 / Published: 2 July 2019
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Abstract
This study examines the effect of mixing on the performance of anaerobic digestion of cow manure in Chinese dome digesters (CDDs) at ambient temperatures (27–32 °C) in comparison with impeller mixed digesters (STRs) and unmixed digesters (UMDs) at the laboratory scale. The CDD [...] Read more.
This study examines the effect of mixing on the performance of anaerobic digestion of cow manure in Chinese dome digesters (CDDs) at ambient temperatures (27–32 °C) in comparison with impeller mixed digesters (STRs) and unmixed digesters (UMDs) at the laboratory scale. The CDD is a type of household digester used in rural and pre-urban areas of developing countries for cooking. They are mixed by hydraulic variation during gas production and gas use. Six digesters (two of each type) were operated at two different influent total solids (TS) concentration, at a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 30 days for 319 days. The STRs were mixed at 55 rpm, 10 min/hour; the unmixed digesters were not mixed, and the Chinese dome digesters were mixed once a day releasing the stored biogas under pressure. The reactors exhibited different specific biogas production and treatment efficiencies at steady state conditions. The STR 1 exhibited the highest methane (CH4) production and treatment efficiency (volatile solid (VS) reduction), followed by STR 2. The CDDs performed better (10% more methane) than the UMDs, but less (approx. 8%) compared to STRs. The mixing regime via hydraulic variation in the CDD was limited despite a higher volumetric biogas rate and therefore requires optimization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biogas for Rural Areas )
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Open AccessArticle
Development of an Optimised Chinese Dome Digester Enables Smaller Reactor Volumes; Pilot Scale Performance
Energies 2019, 12(11), 2213; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12112213
Received: 7 April 2019 / Revised: 3 June 2019 / Accepted: 3 June 2019 / Published: 11 June 2019
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Abstract
Chinese dome digesters are usually operated at long hydraulic retention times (HRT) and low influent total solids (TS) concentration because of limited mixing. In this study, a newly optimised Chinese dome digester with a self-agitating mechanism was investigated at a pilot scale (digester [...] Read more.
Chinese dome digesters are usually operated at long hydraulic retention times (HRT) and low influent total solids (TS) concentration because of limited mixing. In this study, a newly optimised Chinese dome digester with a self-agitating mechanism was investigated at a pilot scale (digester volume = 500 L) and compared with a conventional Chinese dome digester (as blank) at 15% influent TS concentration at two retention times (30 and 40 days). The reactors were operated at ambient temperature: 27–33 °C. The average specific methane production, volatile fatty acids and percentage of volatile solids (VS) reduction are 0.16 ± 0.13 and 0.25 ± 0.05L CH4/g VS; 1 ± 0.5 and 0.7 ± 0.3 g/L; and 51 ± 14 and 57 ± 10% at 40 days HRT (day 52–136) for the blank and optimised digester, respectively. At 30 days HRT (day 137–309) the results are 0.19 ± 0.12 and 0.23 ± 0.04 L CH4/g VS; 1.2 ± 0.6 and 0.7 ± 0.3 g/L; and 51 ± 9 and 58 ± 11.6%. Overall, the optimised digester produced 40% more methane than the blank, despite the high loading rates applied. The optimised digester showed superior digestion treatment efficiency and was more stable in terms of VFA concentration than the blank digester, can be therefore operated at high influent TS (15%) concentration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biogas for Rural Areas )
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