Effect of the N-Methylmorpholine-N-Oxide (NMMO) Pretreatment on Anaerobic Digestion of Forest Residues

Maryam M. Kabir, Maria del Pilar Castillo, Mohammad J. Taherzadeh, Ilona Sárvári Horváth


Pretreatment of forest residues using N-methylmorpholine-N-oxide (NMMO or NMO) prior to anaerobic digestion was investigated, where the effects of particle size, NMMO concentration, and pretreatment time were the primary focus. The pretreatments were carried out on forest residues; with different particle sizes of 2, 4 and 8 mm, at 120 °C for 3, 7, and 15 h in two different modes of NMMO-treatment: dissolution by 85% NMMO and swelling without dissolution using 75% NMMO solution in water. The pretreatment process led to minor changes in the composition of the forest residues. The best improvement in methane yield of the forest residues was achieved by pretreatment using 85% NMMO for 15 h at 120 °C. This treatment resulted in 0.17 Nm3/kg VS methane yield, which corresponds to 83% of the expected theoretical yield of carbohydrates present in the material. Additionally, the accumulated methane yield and the rate of the methane production were highly affected by the amounts of remaining NMMO when it was not well separated during the washing and filtration steps after the treatment. The presence of concentrations even as low as 0.008% NMMO resulted in a decrease in the final methane yield by 45%, while the presence of 1% of this solvent in the digester completely terminated the anaerobic digestion process.


Forest residues; NMMO; Anaerobic digestion; Inhibition; Degradation; Biogas; Lignocelluloses

Full Text: PDF

Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022, hubbe@ncsu.edu; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, lucian.lucia@gmail.com URLs: bioresourcesjournal.com; http://ncsu.edu/bioresources ISSN: 1930-2126