Utilization of Food Waste via Anaerobic Digestion: From Feedstock to Biogas and Fertilizers
Research output: Book/Report › Doctoral thesis › Collection of Articles
|Publisher||Tampere University of Technology|
|Number of pages||75|
|Publication status||Published - 10 Sep 2016|
|Publication type||G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)|
|Name||Tampere University of Technology. Publication|
This study shows the potential of food waste as feedstock for anaerobic digestion without dilution, with a total solids content of 20–25%. A high organic loading rate of 6 kgVS/m3d (VS, volatile solids) was achieved with methane yields 400–430 m3/kgVS in continuous food waste digestion while the optimum loading rate was 3 kgVS/m3d, yielding around 480 m3/kgVS of methane. Trace element supplementation enabled a stable long-term operation and gradual increase of loading rates without the accumulation of acids. The autoclave pretreatment (160°C and 6.2 bars) of the food waste affected the characteristics – and subsequently, the anaerobic digestion performance, where the formation of protein-based hardly biodegradable compounds led to a 10% lower methane yield during digestion, decreased hydrogen sulfide content in the biogas, and 50% decreased ammonium nitrogen concentration within the digestate. The decreased availability of proteins and hydrogen sulfide formation due to the pretreatment reduce the risk of ammonia inhibition during anaerobic digestion and enable easier biogas cleaning and security.
The food waste digestates shows potential as a nutrient source in crop fertilization independently and after post-treatment. The studied digestates were considered suitable for fertilizer use, as they showed good agronomic value in terms of nutrient content and usability, as well as biosecurity. Food waste digestates produced around 5 to 30% higher ryegrass yield compared with a mineral fertilizer in pot experiments, and the majority (50–70%) of the nitrogen and phosphorus were in the soluble and plantavailable forms. The integration of anaerobic digestion and digestate post-treatment technologies enabled the processing of the digestate liquid into concentrated nutrient products rich in nitrogen and potassium. With the combination different processing technologies such as evaporation, stripping, and reverse osmosis, nutrient products with optimal composition can be produced to correspond with the fertilizer demand. Overall, due to the high energy potential of the food waste, the integration of the anaerobic digestion with heat-demanding digestate liquid post-treatment processes (e.g., stripping and/or evaporation) was possible.
In conclusion, anaerobic digestion has high potential for the utilization of food waste, as food waste produces high methane yields in optimized conditions. The food waste digestate was also shown to be a suitable nutrient (especially nitrogen) source in crop fertilization independently and after posttreatment.