Effect of Total Solids Concentration of Municipal Solid Waste on the Biogas Produced in an Anaerobic Continuous Digester

A. Hilkiah Igoni, M. F. N. Abowei, M. J. Ayotamuno, C. L. Eze


Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) contains a relatively large amount of organic matter, which decomposes by the actions of microorganisms under anaerobic conditions to produce biogas. The total solids (TS) concentration of the waste influences the pH, temperature and effectiveness of the microorganisms in the decomposition process. This work investigated various concentrations of the TS of MSW in an anaerobic continuously stirred tank reactor (CSTR) and the corresponding amounts of biogas produced, in order to determine conditions for optimum gas production. Five laboratory-scale anaerobic batch digesters of 5 litres volume each were set up for the digestion of 2kg of shredded MSW diluted to a %TS concentration of 26.7%. The results from the batch experimentation were adapted to the design of a CSTR for the digestion of MSW. The CSTR was simulated over a range of %TS concentration of 4-10, at a maximum fractional conversion of 0.8 to cater for system inefficiencies. Mathematical models were developed for the process and solved using the Microsoft Visual Basic version 6.0 Programme. The results show the amount of biogas produced as a power function of the %TS concentration, indicating that as the process continues, a time comes when any marginal increase in the %TS concentration would no longer contribute to the increasing volume of biogas produced. The results further show that, given the limiting upper boundary of the %TS concentration, optimum biogas production in a CSTR digesting MSW cannot be ascertained with the concentration of the %TS alone.

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