Effects of Microwave Heating on Biogas Production, Chemical Oxygen Demand and Volatile Solids Solubilization of Food Residues
This paper presents the results of the preliminary investigation of microwave (MW) irradiation pretreatments on the anaerobic digestion of food residues using biochemical methane potential (BMP) assays. Low solids systems with a total solids (TS) content ranging from 5.0-10.0% were analyzed. The inoculum to bulk mass of substrates to water ratio was 1:2:2 (mass basis). The experimental conditions for pretreatments were as follows: a control (no MW irradiation), two runs with MW irradiation for 15 and 30 minutes at 320 W, and another two runs with MW irradiation at 528 W for 30 and 60 minutes. The cumulative biogas production were 6.3 L and 8.7 L for 15min/320 W and 30min/320 W MW irradiation conditions, respectively, and 10.5 L and 11.4 L biogas for 30min/528 W and 60min/528 W, respectively, as compared to the control giving 5.8 L biogas. Both an increase in exposure time of irradiation and power of MW had increased the rate and yield of biogas. Singlefactor ANOVA tests (p<0.05) indicated that the variations in VS, TS, COD and cumulative biogas generation were significantly different for the pretreatment conditions. Results from this study indicated that MW irradiation had enhanced the biogas production and degradation of total solids with a significant improvement in VS and COD solubilization.
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