Energy Recovery Together with Amorphous Nanosilica Production from Rice Straw via Dry Anaerobic Digestion

Safoora Mirmohamadsadeghi, Keikhosro Karimi


Rice straw burning is the most widely used industrial process for silica production, resulting in the loss of carbohydrate energy and environmental pollution. In this study, dry anaerobic digestion was applied to convert an organic fraction of rice straw into biogas while generating a solid digestate rich in silica. The methane yield obtained from the dry digestion was 119 L per kg of volatile solids of the straw. The silica content in the ash of the digested straw was 20.7% higher than that of the ash from raw rice straw. The X-ray diffraction pattern revealed the existence of amorphous silica in the ash of the digested straw. The Fourier transform infrared analysis dispelled concerns about the addition of silica impurities by the anaerobic digestion process. The transmission electron microscopy results revealed the formation of nanosilica with particle sizes between 15 nm and 30 nm. It was concluded that high-quality nanosilica can be obtained from anaerobically digested rice straw. The application of this process can decrease the annual global greenhouse gas emissions by 10.5 million tons.


Amorphous silica; Biogas; Biological treatment; Dry anaerobic digestion; Rice straw

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