Solid-state anaerobic digestion of wheat straw: Impact of S/I ratio and pilot-scale fungal pretreatment.

Affiliation

LBE, Univ. Montpellier, INRA, 102 Avenue des Etangs, F-11100 Narbonne, France. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Solid State Anaerobic Digestion (SSAD) of fungal pretreated wheat straw was evaluated in a leach bed reactor. During a first experiment, the effect of Substrate/Inoculum (S/I) ratios on the start-up phase was investigated. High S/I increased methane productivity but also raised the risk of reactor failure due to Volatile Fatty Acid (VFA) accumulation. With S/I ratios between 1.2 and 3.6 (Volatile Solid (VS) basis), the SSAD start-up using wheat straw was successful. Moreover, reactors were able to recover from acidification when the Total VFA/alkalinity ratio was lower than 2 gHAc_eq/gCaCO3, with VFA concentrations lower than 10 g/L and a pH close to 5.5. The conventional threshold of 0.6 gHAc_eq/gCaCO3 for stable wet AD is therefore not adapted to SSAD. During a second experiment, after the wheat straw was submitted to a fungal pretreatment in a non-sterile pilot-scale reactor, it was digested with an S/I ratio of 2.8-2.9. Under batch SSAD conditions, the biodegradability of pretreated wheat straw was slightly improved in comparison to the control (254 versus 215 NmL/g VS, respectively). Considering mass losses occurring during the pretreatment step, suboptimal pretreatment conditions caused a slightly lower methane production (161 versus 171 NmL/gTSinitial after 60-days anaerobic digestion). Nevertheless, pretreatment improved the start-up phase with lower acidification relative to controls. It would be particularly beneficial to improve the methane production in reactors with short reaction times.

Keywords

Alkalinity,Dry anaerobic digestion,Lignocellulose,Substrate/inoculum ratio,White-rot fungi,