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Co-Digestion of Rice Straw with Cow Manure in an Innovative Temperature Phased Anaerobic Digestion Technology: Performance Evaluation and Trace Elements

Muhayodin, Furqan; Fritze, Albrecht; Larsen, Oliver Christopher; Spahr, Marcel; Rotter, Vera Susanne

FG Kreislaufwirtschaft und Recyclingtechnologie

Rice straw is an agricultural residue produced in abundant quantities. Open burning and plowing back the straw to the fields are common practices for its disposal. In-situ incorporation and burning cause emissions of greenhouse gas and particulate matter. Additionally, the energy potential of rice straw is lost. Anaerobic digestion is a technology that can be potentially used to utilize the surplus rice straw, provide renewable energy, circulate nutrients available in the digestate, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from rice paddies. An innovative temperature phased anaerobic digestion technology was developed and carried out in a continuous circulating mode of mesophilic and hyperthermophilic conditions in a loop digester (F1). The performance of the newly developed digester was compared with the reference digester (F2) working at mesophilic conditions. Co-digestion of rice straw was carried out with cow manure to optimize the carbon to nitrogen ratio and to provide the essential trace elements required by microorganisms in the biochemistry of methane formation. F1 produced a higher specific methane yield (189 ± 37 L/kg volatile solids) from rice straw compared to F2 (148 ± 36 L/kg volatile solids). Anaerobic digestion efficiency was about 90 ± 20% in F1 and 70 ± 20% in F2. Mass fractions of Fe, Ni, Co, Mo, Cu, and Zn were analyzed over time. The mass fractions of Co, Mo, Cu, and Zn were stable in both digesters. While mass fractions of Fe and Ni were reduced at the end of the digestion period. However, no direct relationship between specific methane yield and reduced mass fraction of Fe and Ni was found. Co-digestion of rice straw with cow manure seems to be a good approach to provide trace elements except for Se.