Study on the effect of thermal pre-treatments in the thermophilic anaerobic digestion of a potato peel waste

Santos, Susana, Débora Azeitona, Nuno Lapa, João Morais, Helena Lopes, and Benilde Mendes Study on the effect of thermal pre-treatments in the thermophilic anaerobic digestion of a potato peel waste. Proceedings of the International Anaerobic Digestion Symposium within the BioGasWorld 2013. Berlin, Germany: German Society for Sustainable Biogas and Bioenergy Utilisation, 2013.


This work aimed to study the effect of different pre-treatments applied to a potato peel residue, in a thermophilic Anaerobic Digestion (AD) process. All samples were subjected to a mechanical pre-treatment through milling to a particle size below 2 mm. The thermal pre-treatments applied consisted of autoclaving the residue at a gauge pressure of 1.2 bar, under a temperature of 122°C, and for 20, 35 and 55 minutes: assays E122.20, E122.35 and E122.55, respectively. The control assay was performed on a ground residue, which was not submitted to any thermal pre-treatment. All pre-treated residues were subjected to an AD process in a CSTR reactor at 49±1°C. The experimental data showed that the highest methane percentages were very similar (about 92% v/v) for all samples submitted to the thermal pre-treatments. For the control assay, the highest percentage of methane was 87.9% (v/v). The highest biogas yields were recorded in the trial E122.35 (646±50 cm3.g-1 CODremoved), against only 250±20 cm3.g-1 CODremoved for the control assay. The highest biogas yields for VSremoved were attained in the assays E122.55 and E122.35, with values of 646±48 cm3.g-1 VSremoved and 634±59 cm3.g-1 VSremoved, respectively. Globally, the yields registered for the assay E122.35 were similar to those determined in the assay E122.55. Due to the lower energy consumption during the pre-treatment performed in the assay E122.35, this was considered to be the most suitable pre-treatment for this type of residue.



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