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Abstract

Bicarbonate was evaluated as an alternative carbon source for a green microalga, Tetradesmus wisconsinensis, isolated from Lake Norsjø in Norway. Photosynthesis, growth, and lipid production were studied using four inorganic carbon regimes: (1) aeration only, (2) 20 mM NaHCO3, (3) 5% (v/v) CO2 gas, and (4) combination of 20 mM NaHCO3 and 5% CO2. Variable chlorophyll a fluorescence analysis revealed that the bicarbonate treatment supported effective photosynthesis, while the CO2 treatment led to inefficient photosynthetic activity with a PSII maximum quantum yield as low as 0.31. Conversely, bicarbonate and CO2 treatments gave similar biomass and fatty acid production. The maximum growth rate, the final cell dry weight, and total fatty acids under the bicarbonate-only treatment were 0.33 (± 0.06) day−1, 673 (± 124) mg L−1 and 75 (± 5) mg g−1 dry biomass, respectively. The most abundant fatty acid components were α-linolenic acid and polyunsaturated fatty acids constituting 69% of the total fatty acids. The fatty acid profile eventuated in unsuitable biodiesel fuel properties such as high degree of unsaturation and low cetane number; however, it would be relevant for food and feed applications. We concluded that bicarbonate could give healthy growth and comparative product yields as CO2.

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Abstract

Power-to-methane technology is a promising solution to facilitate the use of excess variable renewable energy for biomethane production. In this approach, hydrogen produced via electrolysis is used to upgrade raw biogas, which can be subsequently used as fuel or stored in the gas grid. Ex-situ biomethanation is an emerging technology that could potentially replace conventional energy-intensive biogas upgrading methods and allow CO2 utilization for biomethane production. This work provides a comprehensive overview on the current status of ex-situ biomethanation with particular attention to trickle bed reactor. The review includes description of ex-situ biomethanation and summarizes previous works on this topic. The key elements related to operational conditions, efficiency, and microbiology of ex-situ biomethanation using trickle bed reactor are described here. Additionally, the review highlights the technical and economic issues that have to be addressed for future development and large-scale implementation of ex-situ biomethanation.

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Abstract

This study attempted to enhance sulfidogenic activity via sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) enrichment and minimize organic carbon loss by methanogen inhibition in the sulfidogenic stage of a two-stage anaerobic digestion system (TSADS). To enrich SRB in the sulfidogenic stage, batch tests were performed with various granular sludge pretreatments. Starvation was the most effective pretreatment, increasing SO42− removal and minimizing chemical oxygen demand (COD) loss by inhibiting methanogen activity. Microbial community analysis showed that Desulfovibrio, Desulfotomaculum, and Syntrophobacter were the dominant SRB in the sulfidogenic stage (5.0%, 3.1%, and 2.4%, respectively). This enabled SO42− reduction (86%) and volatile fatty acid production (55% of fed COD) at a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 4 h. Conversely, biogas with a reduced H2S content (110 ppmv) was produced in the methanogenic stage (HRT = 6 h). A granular sludge comparison revealed differences in their ecology, structure, and extracellular polymeric substance characteristics. Economic feasibility analysis demonstrated that TSADS can lead to a cost reduction of $80–90/1,000 m3 CH4 compared to single-stage anaerobic digestion.

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Abstract

It is commonly known that the pretreatment of complex substrates yields higher biogas production in anaerobic digestion (AD) by improving hydrolysis. However, it is still questioned whether all solubilized fractions after pretreatment can be used for CH4 production during AD. In this study, the relationship between increased solubilization and AD efficiency in response to different pretreatment conditions of lipid-extracted microalgae waste (LEMW) was investigated. The individual pretreatment (acid and ultrasonic) and combined pretreatment were applied to assess the solubilization of LEMW. A biochemical methane potential (BMP) test was subsequently performed to determine the AD efficiency. Combined pretreatment of LEMW (60 min of irradiation + pH 1) showed the highest performance, achieving CH4 production of 1245 ± 28 mL CH4/L with increased solubilization of 50.4%. However, it was found that increased solubilization did not proportionally increase CH4 productivity. The assessment of the origin of produced CH4 through biomass fractionation supports this finding in that the soluble fraction that does not contribute to CH4 production increased at more severe pretreatment conditions.