Biogas Production through the Anaerobic Digestion of Date Palm Tree Wastes - Process Optimization

Fahad Y. Al-Juhaimi, Siddig H. Hamad, Ibraheem S. Al-Ahaideb, Mutlag M. Al-Otaibi, Kashif Ghafoor, Tasneem Abbasi, S. A. Abbasi

Abstract


A process for the production of biogas through the anaerobic digestion (AD) of date palm tree waste (DPTW) was developed. The effects of different substrate pretreatments and operating conditions on the yield of biogas and on the chemical composition of DPTW before and after AD were studied. The best results were obtained using alkali pretreatment, with a particle size of 2 to 5 mm, a C:N ratio of 30:1, a digestion temperature of 40 °C, an initial pH of 7.0, and a volatile solids concentration of approximately 10%. The production of flammable biogas containing up to 50% methane started after about one week of operation and continued for approximately 11 weeks. The highest average biogas yield obtained was 342.2 L gas/kg of volatile solids fed to the digester. The highest maximum and average volumetric biogas production rates obtained were 674.5 and 404.4 L/m3 of digester volume per day, respectively. After digestion, there was up to a 58% reduction in the organic matter content of the substrate. Reductions in the contents of cellulose, hemicellulose, and soluble organic compounds were 68.7, 73.4, and 71.9%, respectively, while the ash and lignin contents remained mostly constant. The remaining sludge contained nutrient minerals and some organic matter which qualifies it as a potential soil fertilizer for crop production.

Keywords


Date palm tree waste; Alkali treatment; Soaking; Anaerobic digestion; Biogas; Organic matter reduction

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