Psychrophilic Full Scale Tubular Digester Operating over Eight Years: Complete Performance Evaluation and Microbiological Population
ENERGIES 2021, 14(1), 151, December 2020
Authors: J. Jaimes-Estéveza ; G. Zafrab ; J. Martí-Herreroc, d ; G. Pelaze ; A. Moráne ; A. Puentesa ; C. Gomeza ; L. P. Castroa ; H. Escalante Hernándeza
a Centro de Estudios en Investigaciones Ambientales (CEIAM) Research Group, Universidad Industrial de Santander, Bucaramanga, Colombia
b Grupo de Investigación en Bioquímica y Microbiología (GIBIM), Universidad Industrial de Santander, Bucaramanga, Colombia
c Biomass to Resources Group, Universidad Regional Amazonica Ikiam, Via Tena-Muyuna, Km.7, Tena, Napo, Ecuador
d Building Energy and Environment Group, Centre Internacional de Mètodes Numérics en Enginyeria (CIMNE), Terrassa, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
e Chemical, Environmental and Bioprocess Engineering Group, Universidad de León, Av. Portugal 41, 24009 León, Spain
Most biogas plants in the world run under psychrophilic conditions and are operated by small and medium farmers. There is a gap of knowledge on the performance of these systems after several years of operation.
The aim of this research is to provide a complete evaluation of a psychrophilic, low-cost, tubular digester operated for eight years. The thermal performance was monitored for 50 days, and parameters such as pH, total volatile fatty acid (tVFA), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and volatile solids (VS) were measured every week for the influent and effluent. The digester operated at a stabilized slurry temperature of around 17.7 °C, with a mean organic load rate (OLR) equal to 0.52 kg VS/m3digester *d and an estimated hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 25 days. The VS reduction in the digester was around 77.58% and the COD reduction was 67 ± 3%, with a mean value for the effluent of 3.31 ± 1.20 g COD/Lt, while the tVFA decreased by 83.6 ± 15.5% and the presence of coliforms decreased 10.5%. A BioMethane potential test (BMP) for the influent and effluent showed that the digester reached a specific methane production of 0.40 Nm3CH4/kg VS and a 0.21 Nm3CH4/m3digester d with 63.1% CH4 in the biogas.
These results, together with a microbiological analysis, show stabilized anaerobic digestion and a biogas production that was higher than expected for the psychrophilic range and the short HRT; this may have been due to the presence of an anaerobic digestion microorganism consortium which was extremely well-adapted to psychrophilic conditions over the eight-year study period.