A Study of Two-Stage Anaerobic Digestion of Solid Potato Waste using Reactors under Mesophilic and Thermophilic Conditions
A two-stage anaerobic digestion process operated under mesophilic and thermophilic conditions was investigated for the treatment of solid potato waste to determine optimal methane yield, efficiency of operation and process stability. A solid-bed reactor was used for hydrolysis/acidification stage while an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor was used in the second stage, for methanogenesis. Three sets of conditions were investigated: (I) mesophilic + mesophilic, (II) mesophilic + thermophilic and (III) thermophilic + thermophilic in the hydrolysis/acidification and methanogenesis reactors, respectively. The methane yield was higher under mesophilic conditions (0.49 1 CH4 g COD−1degraded) than thermophilic conditions (0.41 1 CH4 g COD−1degraded) with reference to the methanogenic reactors. (COD) - chemical oxygen demand. However, the digestion period was shorter in systems II and III than in system I. Also, in system III the UASB reactor (thermophilic conditions) could handle a higher organic loading rate (OLR) (36 g COD 1−1d−1) than in system I (11 g COD 1−1d−1) (mesophilic conditions) with stable operation. Higher OLRs in the methanogenic reactors resulted in reactor failure due to increasing total volatile fatty acid levels. In all systems, the concentration of propionate was one of the highest, higher than acetic acid, among the volatile fatty acids in the effluent. The results show the feasibility of using a two-stage system to treat solid potato waste under both mesophilic and thermophilic conditions. If the aim is to treat solid potato waste completely within a short period of time thermophilic conditions are to be preferred, but to obtain higher methane yield mesophilic conditions are preferable and therefore there is a need to balance methane yield and complete digestion period when dealing with large quantities of solid potato waste.
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