Increase of biogas production using low-cost nanoparticles (Uni Barcelona), Spain
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Increase of biogas production using low-cost nanoparticles (Uni Barcelona), Spain 31 May 2012 13:10 #2947

  • tonacho
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BAJA_3-61-Copy2-154x300.jpg


We have the anaerobic digester ready to work.

We plan to start with wastewater sludge as main feed and to gradually increase the dosage of iron oxide nanoparticles to increase the biogas production, as we have observed at lab scale.

We will continue informing…

Toni Sanchez
Antoni Sánchez Ferrer (male, PhD) is Full Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona. His main research activities have been focused on biological waste treatment, especially on composting processes.

scholar.google.es/citations?user=f2hh0z8AAAAJ&hl=ca

Re: Nanobioreactor ready for use! 15 Jun 2012 12:35 #2948

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We already have had the floating low pressure anaerobic digester working with feedstock of cow manure and kitchen wastes and plan using simple prototype biogas compressor to increase the pressure.

We will also finish high pressure biodigester soon in order to avoid prototype biogas compressor.

we will inform the progressing……….

Best wishes

Sokchea

Re: Nanobioreactor ready for use! 15 Jun 2012 15:22 #2949

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Fine. We will have a lot of anaerobic digesters working. Good to share experiences.

Toni
Antoni Sánchez Ferrer (male, PhD) is Full Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona. His main research activities have been focused on biological waste treatment, especially on composting processes.

scholar.google.es/citations?user=f2hh0z8AAAAJ&hl=ca
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Nanobioreactor working 15 Jun 2012 17:35 #2950

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In fact, the anaerobic digester is not ready for use. It is already working!

Now the only feed is wastewater primary sludge, but we plan to start the feed with iron oxide nanoparticles to increase the biogas production in the next weeks.

We will continue informing.

Toni
Antoni Sánchez Ferrer (male, PhD) is Full Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona. His main research activities have been focused on biological waste treatment, especially on composting processes.

scholar.google.es/citations?user=f2hh0z8AAAAJ&hl=ca

Increase of biogas production using low cost nanoparticles (Universitat Aut​ònoma de Barcelona, Spain) 27 May 2013 10:05 #4508

  • tonacho
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Dear all
This is a summary, of the main objectives of our Grant (find full information and introduction of myself below):
  • Scale-up the anaerobic digestion to develop continuous or semi-continuous processes, similar to those of full-scale reactors.
  • Scale-up the production of iron oxide NPs to have an estimation of the production costs of these materials at full-scale.
  • To test if the increase production of biogas is stable in time and the digester is able to overcome the typical feed variations when using wastewater sludge as substrate.
  • To test other real wastes to determine the feasibility of the process (for instance, MSW and manure).
___________________________________________________________________________________

About myself
My name is Dr. Antoni Sánchez and I am Full Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona. My main research activities have been focused on biological waste treatment, especially on composting processes and anaerobic digestion. I am now the Coordinator of the Composting Research Group.
During my research career, I have published more than ninety ISI-refereed papers on different aspects of biotechnology and environmental sciences, and my works have received more than 1700 citations. I have been the supervisor of many PhD, Master and Undergraduate students and I have acted as the principal investigator of numerous research projects from public institutions and contracts with private companies.
More details can be found at:
scholar.google.es/citations?user=f2hh0z8AAAAJ&hl=ca

Title of grant: Increase of biogas production using low-cost nanoparticles
Subtitle (more descriptive title): Increase of biogas production using low-cost nanoparticles and production of sanitized compost from digested materials.
Name of lead organization: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Primary contact at lead organization: Toni Sánchez
Grantee location: Barcelona, Spain
Developing country where the research is being tested: Spain

Short description of the project:
We have observed in batch experiments how the introduction on iron oxide nanoparticles in a standard anaerobic digester of wastewater sludge is able to increase the production of biogas by more than 70%. These experiments have been conducted at low-scale (1 L) and using pure substrates as cellulose. Our main interest is to see if this increase in the biogas production and, inconsequence, in renewable energy produced from wastes, is also observed under realistic conditions, that is:
  • At least, pilot scale reactors
  • With continuous feed
  • With other wastes, such as MSW

Goal(s):
To increase the production of biogas from sludge and other organic solid wastes using low cost iron oxide biocompatible nanoparticles (FeNPs) and the simultaneous production of high quality sanitized compost.

Objectives (or activities or key research components):
  • Scale-up the anaerobic digestion to develop continuous or semi-continuous processes, similar to those of full-scale reactors.
  • Scale-up the production of iron oxide NPs to have an estimation of the production costs of these materials at full-scale.
  • To test if the increase production of biogas is stable in time and the digester is able to overcome the typical feed variations when using wastewater sludge as substrate.
  • To test other real wastes to determine the feasibility of the process (for instance, MSW and manure).
  • To produce high-quality compost from the digested materials.

Start and end date: 1 November 2011 - 31 October 2013
Grant type: Grand Challenges Explorations, Round 7 (GCE R7)
Funding for this research currently ongoing: We have built all the reactors. A small amount of money is available to cover the consumables and analytical costs.

Research or implementation partners: we are in contact with the Spanish company “Cassa” (www.cassa.es), which is working in the field of wastewater sanitation. We are comparing the results of our anaerobic digester with the full-scale digester (1000 cubic meters) of the wastewater of Sabadell (Barcelona) to compare both reactors. The final aim of the project is to test the FeNPs in the full-scale digester.
We are also in close collaboration with ICN (Institute Catalan of Nanotechnology) to design systems for the production of NPs at very low-cost and substituting some expensive chemicals such as TMAOH (tetramethylammonium hydroxide) by sodium hydroxide to stabilize the NPs. Although these stabilizers are used in low amounts, they can suppose more than 50% of the cost of NPs, but they are crucial for an optimal behavior.

Biggest successes so far:
We now know that our experiments in batch mode are reproducible and, after a lag phase, biogas is increasing suddenly to values that in some cases suppose to double the biogas production from sludge without adding FeNPs.
Additionally, the evolution of the digesters is more stable when adding FeNPs, and the typical perturbations of anaerobic digesters disappear.
Another possible use of NPs is as flocculants, which we are now testing with positive results.
Currently, the sludge product is sanitised and transformed into a high quality compost.

Main challenges / frustration:
When passing to continuous process, we are not able to select a proper concentration of FeNPs in the digester to see a increase in biogas production, although the process is more stable. We are working now in a new batch with new NPs, as it seems that little changes in the production of NPs (size, stabilizer used) are the cause of this problem.

Links, further readings, etc:
We are in the final stage of submitting our main first results to the journal "Science". Of course, the paper includes the funding of Gates Foundation in the acknowledgements. However, the paper is still in the hands of English revisers. I would prefer to include a link when the paper is published (in Science or other journal).

The FeNPs:
ironoxidenanos.jpg

The Lab Reactor:
LabReactors.jpg

The Pilot Reactor:
PilotReactor.jpg
Antoni Sánchez Ferrer (male, PhD) is Full Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona. His main research activities have been focused on biological waste treatment, especially on composting processes.

scholar.google.es/citations?user=f2hh0z8AAAAJ&hl=ca
Last Edit: 19 Jun 2013 22:50 by muench.

Increase of Biogas Production Using Low Cost Nanoparticles-FOR THE FORUM 27 May 2013 10:14 #4510

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See how the nanoparticles increase the biogas production after a lag phase.

However, the problem is to reproduce these results obtained in batch mode in continuous reactors.

Some ideas?
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Antoni Sánchez Ferrer (male, PhD) is Full Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona. His main research activities have been focused on biological waste treatment, especially on composting processes.

scholar.google.es/citations?user=f2hh0z8AAAAJ&hl=ca

Re: Increase of Biogas Production Using Low Cost Nanoparticles-FOR THE FORUM 27 May 2013 14:41 #4521

  • JKMakowka
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Hmm, without being an biogas expert, here is a wild guess:
Maybe that is an artifact of the batch mode, e.g. at a certain point methanogesis suppressing side products (NH4, H2S???) accumulate and prevent further methane production (and your iron nano-particles in turn bind them and prevent that), however in a continuous reactor those can escape before they cause a problem?
Krischan Makowka
Technical Adviser at the Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET)
www.uwasnet.org

Re: Increase of Biogas Production Using Low Cost Nanoparticles-FOR THE FORUM 29 May 2013 08:06 #4531

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Interesting.

We suspect that S can precipitate nanoparticles, we are carrying out now experiments to confirm it with sulphate as control. We have also observed that the stabilizer used to prevent the agglomeration of nanoparticles is essential to avoid this problem, which inhibits the improvement observed in the biogas production.

See a couple of nanoparticles with one stabilizer (NP1) and one with another, in which agglomerations is not observed (NP2).
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Antoni Sánchez Ferrer (male, PhD) is Full Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona. His main research activities have been focused on biological waste treatment, especially on composting processes.

scholar.google.es/citations?user=f2hh0z8AAAAJ&hl=ca

Working on continuous mode 21 Jun 2013 12:40 #4784

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The nanoparticles increase the biogas production under starving conditions, when easily biodegradable organic matter is consumed. See the picture of three controls and an anaerobic digester with nanoparticles.

We are happy!

(in the figure, scale time is in hours and R2 is the only anerobic digester with nanoparticles)
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Antoni Sánchez Ferrer (male, PhD) is Full Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona. His main research activities have been focused on biological waste treatment, especially on composting processes.

scholar.google.es/citations?user=f2hh0z8AAAAJ&hl=ca

Re: Working on continuous mode 21 Jun 2013 15:05 #4788

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Ahh, so my assumption that is is an batch process artifact was basically right, just not the explanation I offered. How economic would it be to increase the retention time in a continuous reactor to the point this effect would help at all?

Hmm... however maybe this would also help in digesting relatively low nutrient containing feedstock? Edit: That would actually a better test for your hypothesis than the one your graph seems to be based on, wouldn't it? E.g. Take already digested bioslurry, aerate it for a while, than put it back in the reactor and see if with the iron particles you can still get some more gas out of it or not.

Any suggestion why the iron nanoparticles actually have that effect? Are they acting as a sort of catalyst or as a final electron sink? Or do you suspect it is something else entirely?
Krischan Makowka
Technical Adviser at the Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET)
www.uwasnet.org
Last Edit: 21 Jun 2013 15:10 by JKMakowka.
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Trying to reply 25 Jun 2013 10:04 #4837

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A lot of questions, not enought answers.

Now we are working with real sludge, it seems that when organic matter is consumed, microorganisms look for something that can consume, in this case something that is not biodegradable under continous mode, when you are feeding esaily biodegradable organic matter.

Moreover, it is something with a high biogas potential, as it is produced very fast.
Some fat?

We are still working and try to reproduce these results to prepare a strategy in a 100-L continuous reactor.

See the final figure attached.

We will keep you informed!
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Antoni Sánchez Ferrer (male, PhD) is Full Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona. His main research activities have been focused on biological waste treatment, especially on composting processes.

scholar.google.es/citations?user=f2hh0z8AAAAJ&hl=ca

Re: Trying to reply 25 Jun 2013 11:43 #4841

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Hmm, my first guess would have been improved enymatic digestion of cellulose and lignin. A quick google search turned up that there is a (albeit negative) correlation between the concentration of iron-ions and the activity of cellulases. Maybe that is something to look further into.
Krischan Makowka
Technical Adviser at the Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET)
www.uwasnet.org
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