Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 16

Search results for: M. Zielinski

16 Single-Section Fermentation Reactor with Cellular Mixing System

Authors: Marcin Dębowski, Marcin Zieliński, Mirosław Krzemieniewski


This publication presents a reactor designed for methane fermentation of organic substrates. The design is based on rotating cellular cylinders connected to a biomass feeder and an ultrasonic generator. This allows for simultaneous mixing and partial disintegration of the biomass, as well as stimulating higher metabolic rates within the microorganisms. Such a design allows from 2-fold to 14-fold reduction of power usage when compared to conventional mixing systems. The sludge does not undergo mechanical deformation during the mixing process, which improves substrate biodegradation efficiency by 10-15%. Cavitation occurs near the surface of the rods, partially releasing the biomass and separating it from the destroyed microorganisms. Biogas is released further away from the cellular cylinder rods due to the effect of the ultrasonic waves, in addition to increased biochemical activity of the microorganisms and increased exchange of the nutrient medium with metabolic products, which results in biogas production increase by about 15%.

Keywords: methane fermentation, bioreactors, biomass, mixing system

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15 Device for Thermo-Magnetic Depolymerisation of Plant Biomass Prior to Methane Fermentation

Authors: Mirosław Krzemieniewski, Marcin Zieliński, Marcin Dębowski


This publication presents a device for depolymerisation of plant substrates applicable to agricultural biogas plants and closed-chamber sewage treatment plants where sludge fermentation is bolstered with plant mass. The device consists of a tank with a cover equipped with a heating system, an inlet for the substrate, and an outlet for the depolymerised substrate. Within the tank, a magnet shaft encased in a spiral casing is attached, equipped on its upper end with an internal magnetic disc. A motoreducer is mounted on an external magnetic disc located on the centre of the cover. Depolymerisation of the plant substrate allows for substrate destruction at much lower power levels than by conventional means. The temperature within the reactor can be lowered by 40% in comparison to existing designs. During the depolymerisation process, free radicals are generated within the magnetic field, oxidizing the conditioned substrate and promoting biodegradation. Thus, the fermentation time in the fermenters is reduced by approximately 20%.

Keywords: depolymerisation, pre-treatment, biomass, fermentation

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14 The Effect of Microwave Radiation on Biogas Production Efficiency Using Different Plant Substrates

Authors: Marcin Zieliński, Marcin Dębowski, Mirosław Krzemieniewski


The purpose of the present work was to assess the impact of using electromagnetic microwave radiation as a means of stimulating the thermal conditions in anaerobic reactors on biomethanation efficiency of different plant substrates, as measured by the quantity and quality of the resultant biogas. Using electromagnetic microwave radiation to maintain optimal thermal conditions during biomethanation allows for achievement of much higher technological effects in comparison with a conventional heating system. After subjecting different plant substrates to fermentation in the model fermentation chambers, the largest improvements in regard to biogas production efficiency and biogas quality were recorded in the series with corn silage and grass silage. In the first case, the quantity of methane produced in the microwave-stimulated technological system exceeded by 15.26% the quantities produced in reactors heated conventionally. When grass silage was utilized as the organic substrate in the process of biomethanation, anaerobic reactors treated with microwave radiation produced 12.62% more methane.

Keywords: microwave radiation, biogas, methane fermentation, biomass

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13 The Impact of Alumina Cement on Properties of Portland Cement Slurries and Mortars

Authors: Krzysztof Zieliński, Dariusz Kierzek


The addition of a small amount of alumina cement to Portland cement results in immediate setting, a rapid increase in the compressive strength and a clear increase of the adhesion to concrete substrate. This phenomenon is used, among others, for the production of liquid floor self-levelling compounds. Alumina cement is several times more expensive than Portland cement and is a component having a significant impact on prices of products manufactured with its use. For the production of liquid floor self-levelling compounds, low-alumina cement containing approximately 40% Al2O3 is normally used. The aim of the study was to determine the impact of Portland cement with the addition of alumina cement on the basic physical and mechanical properties of cement slurries and mortars. CEM I 42.5R and three types of alumina cement containing 40%, 50% and 70% of Al2O3 were used for the tests. Mixes containing 4%, 6%, 8%, 10% and 12% of different varieties of alumina cement were prepared; for which, the time of initial and final setting, compressive and flexural strength and adhesion to concrete substrate were determined. The analysis of the obtained test results showed that a similar immediate setting effect and clearly better adhesion strength can be obtained using the addition of 6% of high-alumina cement than 12% of low-alumina cement. As the prices of these cements are similar, this can give significant financial savings in the production of liquid floor self-levelling compounds.

Keywords: alumina cement, immediate setting, compression strength, adhesion to substrate

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12 Device for Thermal Depolymerisation of Organic Substrates Prior to Methane Fermentation

Authors: Marcin Dębowski, Mirosław Krzemieniewski, Marcin Zieliński


This publication presents a device designed to depolymerise and structurally change organic substrate, for use in agricultural biogas plants or sewage treatment plants. The presented device consists of a heated tank equipped with an inlet valve for the crude substrate and an outlet valve for the treated substrate. The system also includes a gas conduit, which is at its tip equipped with a high-pressure solenoid valve and a vacuum relief solenoid valve. A conduit behind the high-pressure solenoid valve connects to the vacuum tank equipped with the outlet valve. The substrate introduced into the device is exposed to agents such as high temperature and cavitation produced by abrupt, short-term reduction of pressure within the heated tank. The combined effect of these processes is substrate destruction rate increase of about 20% when compared to using high temperature alone, and about 30% when compared to utilizing only cavitation. Energy consumption is greatly reduced, as the pressure increase is generated by heating the substrate. Thus, there is a 18% reduction of energy consumption when compared to a device designed to destroy substrate through high temperature alone, and a 35% reduction if compared to using cavitation as the only means of destruction.

Keywords: thermal depolymerisation, organic substrate, biogas, pre-treatment

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11 Device for Mechanical Fragmentation of Organic Substrates Before Methane Fermentation

Authors: Marcin Zieliński, Marcin Dębowski, Mirosław Krzemieniewski


This publication presents a device designed for mechanical fragmentation of plant substrate before methane fermentation. The device is equipped with a perforated rotary cylindrical drum coated with a thermal layer, connected to a substrate feeder and driven by a motoreducer. The drum contains ball- or cylinder-shaped weights of different diameters, while its interior is mounted with lateral permanent magnets with an attractive force ranging from 100 kg to 2 tonnes per m2 of the surface. Over the perforated rotary drum, an infrared radiation generator is mounted, producing 0.2 kW to 1 kW of infrared radiation per 1 m2 of the perforated drum surface. This design reduces the energy consumption required for the biomass destruction process by 10-30% in comparison to the conventional ball mill. The magnetic field generated by the permanent magnets situated within the perforated rotary drum promotes this process through generation of free radicals that act as powerful oxidants, accelerating the decomposition rate. Plant substrate shows increased susceptibility to biodegradation when subjected to magnetic conditioning, reducing the time required for biomethanation by 25%. Additionally, the electromagnetic radiation generated by the radiator improves substrate destruction by 10% and the efficiency of the process. The magnetic field and the infrared radiation contribute synergically to the increased efficiency of destruction and conversion of the substrate.

Keywords: biomass pretreatment, mechanical fragmentation, biomass, methane fermentation

Procedia PDF Downloads 447
10 Jagiellonian-PET: A Novel TOF-PET Detector Based on Plastic Scintillators

Authors: P. Moskal, T. Bednarski, P. Bialas, E. Czerwinski, A. Gajos, A. Gruntowski, D. Kaminska, L. Kaplon, G. Korcyl, P. Kowalski, T. Kozik, W. Krzemien, E. Kubicz, Sz. Niedzwiecki, M. Palka, L. Raczynski, Z. Rudy, P. Salabura, N. G. Sharma, M. Silarski, A. Slomski, J. Smyrski, A. Strzelecki, A. Wieczorek, W. Wislicki, M. Zielinski, N. Zon


A new concept and results of the performance tests of the TOF-PET detection system developed at the Jagiellonian University will be presented. The novelty of the concept lies in employing long strips of polymer scintillators instead of crystals as detectors of annihilation quanta, and in using predominantly the timing of signals instead of their amplitudes for the reconstruction of Lines-of-Response. The diagnostic chamber consists of plastic scintillator strips readout by pairs of photo multipliers arranged axially around a cylindrical surface. To take advantage of the superior timing properties of plastic scintillators the signals are probed in the voltage domain with the accuracy of 20 ps by a newly developed electronics, and the data are collected by the novel trigger-less and reconfigurable data acquisition system. The hit-position and hit-time are reconstructed by the dedicated reconstruction methods based on the compressing sensing theory and the library of synchronized model signals. The solutions are subject to twelve patent applications. So far a time-of-flight resolution of ~120 ps (sigma) was achieved for a double-strip prototype with 30 cm field-of-view (FOV). It is by more than a factor of two better than TOF resolution achievable in current TOF-PET modalities and at the same time the FOV of 30 cm long prototype is significantly larger with respect to typical commercial PET devices. The Jagiellonian PET (J-PET) detector with plastic scintillators arranged axially possesses also another advantage. Its diagnostic chamber is free of any electronic devices and magnetic materials thus giving unique possibilities of combining J-PET with CT and J-PET with MRI for scanning the same part of a patient at the same time with both methods.

Keywords: PET-CT, PET-MRI, TOF-PET, scintillator

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9 Rapid and Cheap Test for Detection of Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae with Antibiotic Resistance Identification

Authors: Marta Skwarecka, Patrycja Bloch, Rafal Walkusz, Oliwia Urbanowicz, Grzegorz Zielinski, Sabina Zoledowska, Dawid Nidzworski


Upper respiratory tract infections are one of the most common reasons for visiting a general doctor. Streptococci are the most common bacterial etiological factors in these infections. There are many different types of Streptococci and infections vary in severity from mild throat infections to pneumonia. For example, S. pyogenes mainly contributes to acute pharyngitis, palatine tonsils and scarlet fever, whereas S. Streptococcus pneumoniae is responsible for several invasive diseases like sepsis, meningitis or pneumonia with high mortality and dangerous complications. There are only a few diagnostic tests designed for detection Streptococci from the infected throat of patients. However, they are mostly based on lateral flow techniques, and they are not used as a standard due to their low sensitivity. The diagnostic standard is to culture patients throat swab on semi selective media in order to multiply pure etiological agent of infection and subsequently to perform antibiogram, which takes several days from the patients visit in the clinic. Therefore, the aim of our studies is to develop and implement to the market a Point of Care device for the rapid identification of Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae with simultaneous identification of antibiotic resistance genes. In the course of our research, we successfully selected genes for to-species identification of Streptococci and genes encoding antibiotic resistance proteins. We have developed a reaction to amplify these genes, which allows detecting the presence of S. pyogenes or S. pneumoniae followed by testing their resistance to erythromycin, chloramphenicol and tetracycline. What is more, the detection of β-lactamase-encoding genes that could protect Streptococci against antibiotics from the ampicillin group, which are widely used in the treatment of this type of infection is also developed. The test is carried out directly from the patients' swab, and the results are available after 20 to 30 minutes after sample subjection, which could be performed during the medical visit.

Keywords: antibiotic resistance, Streptococci, respiratory infections, diagnostic test

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8 Possibility of Membrane Filtration to Treatment of Effluent from Digestate

Authors: Marcin Debowski, Marcin Zielinski, Magdalena Zielinska, Paulina Rusanowska


The problem with digestate management is one of the most important factors influencing on the development and operation of biogas plant. Turbidity and bacterial contamination negatively affect the growth of algae, which can limit the use of the effluent in the production of algae biomass on a large scale. These problems can be overcome by cultivating of algae species resistant to environmental factors, such as Chlorella sp., Scenedesmus sp., or reducing load of organic compounds to prevent bacterial contamination. The effluent requires dilution and/or purification. One of the methods of effluent treatment is the use of a membrane technology such as microfiltration (MF), ultrafiltration (UF), nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO), depending on the membrane pore size and the cut off point. Membranes are a physical barrier to solids and particles larger than the size of the pores. MF membranes have the largest pores and are used to remove turbidity, suspensions, bacteria and some viruses. UF membranes remove also color, odor and organic compounds with high molecular weight. In treatment of wastewater or other waste streams, MF and UF can provide a sufficient degree of purification. NF membranes are used to remove natural organic matter from waters, water disinfection products and sulfates. RO membranes are applied to remove monovalent ions such as Na⁺ or K⁺. The effluent was used in UF for medium to cultivation of two microalgae: Chlorella sp. and Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Growth rates of Chlorella sp. and P. tricornutum were similar: 0.216 d⁻¹ and 0.200 d⁻¹ (Chlorella sp.); 0.128 d⁻¹ and 0.126 d⁻¹ (P. tricornutum), on synthetic medium and permeate from UF, respectively. The final biomass composition was also similar, regardless of the medium. Removal of nitrogen was 92% and 71% by Chlorella sp. and P. tricornutum, respectively. The fermentation effluents after UF and dilution were also used for cultivation of algae Scenedesmus sp. that is resistant to environmental conditions. The authors recommended the development of biorafinery based on the production of algae for the biogas production. There are examples of using a multi-stage membrane system to purify the liquid fraction from digestate. After the initial UF, RO is used to remove ammonium nitrogen and COD. To obtain a permeate with a concentration of ammonium nitrogen allowing to discharge it into the environment, it was necessary to apply three-stage RO. The composition of the permeate after two-stage RO was: COD 50–60 mg/dm³, dry solids 0 mg/dm³, ammonium nitrogen 300–320 mg/dm³, total nitrogen 320–340 mg/dm³, total phosphorus 53 mg/dm³. However compostion of permeate after three-stage RO was: COD < 5 mg/dm³, dry solids 0 mg/dm³, ammonium nitrogen 0 mg/dm³, total nitrogen 3.5 mg/dm³, total phosphorus < 0,05 mg/dm³. Last stage of RO might be replaced by ion exchange process. The negative aspect of membrane filtration systems is the fact that the permeate is about 50% of the introduced volume, the remainder is the retentate. The management of a retentate might involve recirculation to a biogas plant.

Keywords: digestate, membrane filtration, microalgae cultivation, Chlorella sp.

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7 Reactors with Effective Mixing as a Solutions for Micro-Biogas Plant

Authors: M. Zielinski, M. Debowski, P. Rusanowska, A. Glowacka-Gil, M. Zielinska, A. Cydzik-Kwiatkowska, J. Kazimierowicz


Technologies for the micro-biogas plant with heating and mixing systems are presented as a part of the Research Coordination for a Low-Cost Biomethane Production at Small and Medium Scale Applications (Record Biomap). The main objective of the Record Biomap project is to build a network of operators and scientific institutions interested in cooperation and the development of promising technologies in the sector of small and medium-sized biogas plants. The activities carried out in the project will bridge the gap between research and market and reduce the time of implementation of new, efficient technological and technical solutions. Reactor with simultaneously mixing and heating system is a concrete tank with a rectangular cross-section. In the reactor, heating is integrated with the mixing of substrate and anaerobic sludge. This reactor is solution dedicated for substrates with high solids content, which cannot be introduced to the reactor with pumps, even with positive displacement pumps. Substrates are poured to the reactor and then with a screw pump, they are mixed with anaerobic sludge. The pumped sludge, flowing through the screw pump, is simultaneously heated by a heat exchanger. The level of the fermentation sludge inside the reactor chamber is above the bottom edge of the cover. Cover of the reactor is equipped with the screw pump driver. Inside the reactor, an electric motor is installed that is driving a screw pump. The heated sludge circulates in the digester. The post-fermented sludge is collected using a drain well. The inlet to the drain well is below the level of the sludge in the digester. The biogas is discharged from the reactor by the biogas intake valve located on the cover. The technology is very useful for fermentation of lignocellulosic biomass and substrates with high content of dry mass (organic wastes). The other technology is a reactor for micro-biogas plant with a pressure mixing system. The reactor has a form of plastic or concrete tank with a circular cross-section. The effective mixing of sludge is ensured by profiled at 90° bottom of the tank. Substrates for fermentation are supplied by an inlet well. The inlet well is equipped with a cover that eliminates odour release. The introduction of a new portion of substrates is preceded by pumping of digestate to the disposal well. Optionally, digestate can gravitationally flow to digestate storage tank. The obtained biogas is discharged into the separator. The valve supplies biogas to the blower. The blower presses the biogas from the fermentation chamber in such a way as to facilitate the introduction of a new portion of substrates. Biogas is discharged from the reactor by valve that enables biogas removal but prevents suction from outside the reactor.

Keywords: biogas, digestion, heating system, mixing system

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6 Influence of Disintegration of Sida hermaphrodita Silage on Methane Fermentation Efficiency

Authors: Marcin Zielinski, Marcin Debowski, Paulina Rusanowska, Magda Dudek


As a result of sonification, the destruction of complex biomass structures results in an increase in the biogas yield from the conditioned material. First, the amount of organic matter released into the solution due to disintegration was determined. This parameter was determined by changes in the carbon content in liquid phase of the conditioned substrate. The amount of carbon in the liquid phase increased with the prolongation of the sonication time to 16 min. Further increase in the duration of sonication did not cause a statistically significant increase in the amount of organic carbon in the liquid phase. The disintegrated material was then used for respirometric measurements for determination of the impact of the conditioning process used on methane fermentation effectiveness. The relationship between the amount of energy introduced into the lignocellulosic substrate and the amount of biogas produced has been demonstrated. Statistically significant increase in the amount of biogas was observed until sonication of 16 min. Further increase in energy in the conditioning process did not significantly increase the production of biogas from the treated substrate. The biogas production from the conditioned substrate was 17% higher than from the reference biomass at that time. The ultrasonic disintegration method did not significantly affect the observed biogas composition. In all series, the methane content in the produced biogas from the conditioned substrate was similar to that obtained with the raw substrate sample (51.1%). Another method of substrate conditioning was hydrothermal depolymerization. This method consists in application of increased temperature and pressure to substrate. These phenomena destroy the structure of the processed material, the release of organic compounds to the solution, which should lead to increase the amount of produced biogas from such treated biomass. The hydrothermal depolymerization was conducted using an innovative microwave heating method. Control measurements were performed using conventional heating. The obtained results indicate the relationship between depolymerization temperature and the amount of biogas. Statistically significant value of the biogas production coefficients increased as the depolymerization temperature increased to 150°C. Further raising the depolymerization temperature to 180°C did not significantly increase the amount of produced biogas in the respirometric tests. As a result of the hydrothermal depolymerization obtained using microwave at 150°C for 20 min, the rate of biogas production from the Sida silage was 780 L/kg VS, which accounted for nearly 50% increase compared to 370 L/kg VS obtained from the same silage but not depolymerised. The study showed that by microwave heating it is possible to effectively depolymerized substrate. Significant differences occurred especially in the temperature range of 130-150ºC. The pre-treatment of Sida hermaphrodita silage (biogas substrate) did not significantly affect the quality of the biogas produced. The methane concentration was about 51.5% on average. The study was carried out in the framework of the project under program BIOSTRATEG funded by the National Centre for Research and Development No. 1/270745/2/NCBR/2015 'Dietary, power, and economic potential of Sida hermaphrodita cultivation on fallow land'.

Keywords: disintegration, biogas, methane fermentation, Virginia fanpetals, biomass

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5 Reconstruction of Signal in Plastic Scintillator of PET Using Tikhonov Regularization

Authors: L. Raczynski, P. Moskal, P. Kowalski, W. Wislicki, T. Bednarski, P. Bialas, E. Czerwinski, A. Gajos, L. Kaplon, A. Kochanowski, G. Korcyl, J. Kowal, T. Kozik, W. Krzemien, E. Kubicz, Sz. Niedzwiecki, M. Palka, Z. Rudy, O. Rundel, P. Salabura, N.G. Sharma, M. Silarski, A. Slomski, J. Smyrski, A. Strzelecki, A. Wieczorek, M. Zielinski, N. Zon


The J-PET scanner, which allows for single bed imaging of the whole human body, is currently under development at the Jagiellonian University. The J-PET detector improves the TOF resolution due to the use of fast plastic scintillators. Since registration of the waveform of signals with duration times of few nanoseconds is not feasible, a novel front-end electronics allowing for sampling in a voltage domain at four thresholds was developed. To take fully advantage of these fast signals a novel scheme of recovery of the waveform of the signal, based on ideas from the Tikhonov regularization (TR) and Compressive Sensing methods, is presented. The prior distribution of sparse representation is evaluated based on the linear transformation of the training set of waveform of the signals by using the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) decomposition. Beside the advantage of including the additional information from training signals, a further benefit of the TR approach is that the problem of signal recovery has an optimal solution which can be determined explicitly. Moreover, from the Bayes theory the properties of regularized solution, especially its covariance matrix, may be easily derived. This step is crucial to introduce and prove the formula for calculations of the signal recovery error. It has been proven that an average recovery error is approximately inversely proportional to the number of samples at voltage levels. The method is tested using signals registered by means of the single detection module of the J-PET detector built out from the 30 cm long BC-420 plastic scintillator strip. It is demonstrated that the experimental and theoretical functions describing the recovery errors in the J-PET scenario are largely consistent. The specificity and limitations of the signal recovery method in this application are discussed. It is shown that the PCA basis offers high level of information compression and an accurate recovery with just eight samples, from four voltage levels, for each signal waveform. Moreover, it is demonstrated that using the recovered waveform of the signals, instead of samples at four voltage levels alone, improves the spatial resolution of the hit position reconstruction. The experiment shows that spatial resolution evaluated based on information from four voltage levels, without a recovery of the waveform of the signal, is equal to 1.05 cm. After the application of an information from four voltage levels to the recovery of the signal waveform, the spatial resolution is improved to 0.94 cm. Moreover, the obtained result is only slightly worse than the one evaluated using the original raw-signal. The spatial resolution calculated under these conditions is equal to 0.93 cm. It is very important information since, limiting the number of threshold levels in the electronic devices to four, leads to significant reduction of the overall cost of the scanner. The developed recovery scheme is general and may be incorporated in any other investigation where a prior knowledge about the signals of interest may be utilized.

Keywords: plastic scintillators, positron emission tomography, statistical analysis, tikhonov regularization

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4 Technology for Biogas Upgrading with Immobilized Algae Biomass

Authors: Marcin Debowski, Marcin Zielinski, Miroslaw Krzemieniewski, Agata Glowacka-Gil, Paulina Rusanowska, Magdalena Zielinska, Agnieszka Cydzik-Kwiatkowska


Technologies of biogas upgrading are now perceived as competitive solution combustion and production of electricity and heat. Biomethane production will ensure broader application as energy carrier than biogas. Biomethane can be used as fuel in internal combustion engines or introduced into the natural gas transmission network. Therefore, there is a need to search for innovative, economically and technically justified methods for biogas enrichment. The aim of this paper is to present a technology solution for biogas upgrading with immobilized algae biomass. Reactor for biogas upgrading with immobilized algae biomass can be used for removing CO₂ from the biogas, flue gases and the waste gases especially coming from different industry sectors, e.g. from the food industry from yeast production process, biogas production systems, liquid and gaseous fuels combustion systems, hydrocarbon processing technology. The basis for the technological assumptions of presented technology were laboratory works and analyses that tested technological variants of biogas upgrading. The enrichment of biogas with a methane content of 90-97% pointed to technological assumptions for installation on a technical scale. Reactor for biogas upgrading with algae biomass is characterized by a significantly lower cubature in relation to the currently used solutions which use CO₂ removal processes. The invention, by its structure, assumes achieving a very high concentration of biomass of algae through its immobilization in capsules. This eliminates the phenomenon of lowering the pH value, i.e. acidification of the environment in which algae grow, resulting from the introduction of waste gases at a high CO₂ concentration. The system for introducing light into algae capsules is characterized by a higher degree of its use, due to lower losses resulting from the phenomenon of absorption of light energy by water. The light from the light source is continuously supplied to the formed biomass of algae or cyanobacteria in capsules by the light tubes. The light source may be sunlight or a light generator of a different wavelength of light from 300 nm to 800 nm. A portion of gas containing CO₂, accumulated in the tank and conveyed by the pump is periodically introduced into the housing of the photobioreactor tank. When conveying the gas that contains CO₂, it penetrates the algal biomass in capsules through the outer envelope, displacing, from the algal biomass, gaseous metabolic products which are discharged by the outlet duct for gases. It contributes to eliminating the negative impact of this factor on CO₂ binding processes. As a result of the cyclic dosing of gases containing carbon dioxide, gaseous metabolic products of algae are displaced and removed outside the technological system. Technology for biogas upgrading with immobilized algae biomass is suitable for the small biogas plant. The advantages of this technology are high efficiency as well as useful algae biomass which can be used mainly as animal feed, fertilizers and in the power industry. The construction of the device allows effective removal of carbon dioxide from gases at a high CO₂ concentration.

Keywords: biogas, carbon dioxide, immobilised biomass, microalgae, upgrading

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3 Ultrasound Disintegration as a Potential Method for the Pre-Treatment of Virginia Fanpetals (Sida hermaphrodita) Biomass before Methane Fermentation Process

Authors: Marcin Dębowski, Marcin Zieliński, Mirosław Krzemieniewski


As methane fermentation is a complex series of successive biochemical transformations, its subsequent stages are determined, to a various extent, by physical and chemical factors. A specific state of equilibrium is being settled in the functioning fermentation system between environmental conditions and the rate of biochemical reactions and products of successive transformations. In the case of physical factors that influence the effectiveness of methane fermentation transformations, the key significance is ascribed to temperature and intensity of biomass agitation. Among the chemical factors, significant are pH value, type, and availability of the culture medium (to put it simply: the C/N ratio) as well as the presence of toxic substances. One of the important elements which influence the effectiveness of methane fermentation is the pre-treatment of organic substrates and the mode in which the organic matter is made available to anaerobes. Out of all known and described methods for organic substrate pre-treatment before methane fermentation process, the ultrasound disintegration is one of the most interesting technologies. Investigations undertaken on the ultrasound field and the use of installations operating on the existing systems result principally from very wide and universal technological possibilities offered by the sonication process. This physical factor may induce deep physicochemical changes in ultrasonicated substrates that are highly beneficial from the viewpoint of methane fermentation processes. In this case, special role is ascribed to disintegration of biomass that is further subjected to methane fermentation. Once cell walls are damaged, cytoplasm and cellular enzymes are released. The released substances – either in dissolved or colloidal form – are immediately available to anaerobic bacteria for biodegradation. To ensure the maximal release of organic matter from dead biomass cells, disintegration processes are aimed to achieve particle size below 50 μm. It has been demonstrated in many research works and in systems operating in the technical scale that immediately after substrate supersonication the content of organic matter (characterized by COD, BOD5 and TOC indices) was increasing in the dissolved phase of sedimentation water. This phenomenon points to the immediate sonolysis of solid substances contained in the biomass and to the release of cell material, and consequently to the intensification of the hydrolytic phase of fermentation. It results in a significant reduction of fermentation time and increased effectiveness of production of gaseous metabolites of anaerobic bacteria. Because disintegration of Virginia fanpetals biomass via ultrasounds applied in order to intensify its conversion is a novel technique, it is often underestimated by exploiters of agri-biogas works. It has, however, many advantages that have a direct impact on its technological and economical superiority over thus far applied methods of biomass conversion. As for now, ultrasound disintegrators for biomass conversion are not produced on the mass-scale, but by specialized groups in scientific or R&D centers. Therefore, their quality and effectiveness are to a large extent determined by their manufacturers’ knowledge and skills in the fields of acoustics and electronic engineering.

Keywords: ultrasound disintegration, biomass, methane fermentation, biogas, Virginia fanpetals

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2 Feasibility of Applying a Hydrodynamic Cavitation Generator as a Method for Intensification of Methane Fermentation Process of Virginia Fanpetals (Sida hermaphrodita) Biomass

Authors: Marcin Zieliński, Marcin Dębowski, Mirosław Krzemieniewski


The anaerobic degradation of substrates is limited especially by the rate and effectiveness of the first (hydrolytic) stage of fermentation. This stage may be intensified through pre-treatment of substrate aimed at disintegration of the solid phase and destruction of substrate tissues and cells. The most frequently applied criterion of disintegration outcomes evaluation is the increase in biogas recovery owing to the possibility of its use for energetic purposes and, simultaneously, recovery of input energy consumed for the pre-treatment of substrate before fermentation. Hydrodynamic cavitation is one of the methods for organic substrate disintegration that has a high implementation potential. Cavitation is explained as the phenomenon of the formation of discontinuity cavities filled with vapor or gas in a liquid induced by pressure drop to the critical value. It is induced by a varying field of pressures. A void needs to occur in the flow in which the pressure first drops to the value close to the pressure of saturated vapor and then increases. The process of cavitation conducted under controlled conditions was found to significantly improve the effectiveness of anaerobic conversion of organic substrates having various characteristics. This phenomenon allows effective damage and disintegration of cellular and tissue structures. Disintegration of structures and release of organic compounds to the dissolved phase has a direct effect on the intensification of biogas production in the process of anaerobic fermentation, on reduced dry matter content in the post-fermentation sludge as well as a high degree of its hygienization and its increased susceptibility to dehydration. A device the efficiency of which was confirmed both in laboratory conditions and in systems operating in the technical scale is a hydrodynamic generator of cavitation. Cavitators, agitators and emulsifiers constructed and tested worldwide so far have been characterized by low efficiency and high energy demand. Many of them proved effective under laboratory conditions but failed under industrial ones. The only task successfully realized by these appliances and utilized on a wider scale is the heating of liquids. For this reason, their usability was limited to the function of heating installations. Design of the presented cavitation generator allows achieving satisfactory energy efficiency and enables its use under industrial conditions in depolymerization processes of biomass with various characteristics. Investigations conducted on the laboratory and industrial scale confirmed the effectiveness of applying cavitation in the process of biomass destruction. The use of the cavitation generator in laboratory studies for disintegration of sewage sludge allowed increasing biogas production by ca. 30% and shortening the treatment process by ca. 20 - 25%. The shortening of the technological process and increase of wastewater treatment plant effectiveness may delay investments aimed at increasing system output. The use of a mechanical cavitator and application of repeated cavitation process (4-6 times) enables significant acceleration of the biogassing process. In addition, mechanical cavitation accelerates increases in COD and VFA levels.

Keywords: hydrodynamic cavitation, pretreatment, biomass, methane fermentation, Virginia fanpetals

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1 Technology of Electrokinetic Disintegration of Virginia Fanpetals (Sida hermaphrodita) Biomass in a Biogas Production System

Authors: Mirosław Krzemieniewski, Marcin Zieliński, Marcin Dębowski


Electrokinetic disintegration is one of the high-voltage electric methods. The design of systems is exceptionally simple. Biomass flows through a system of pipes with alongside mounted electrodes that generate an electric field. Discharges in the electric field deform cell walls and lead to their successive perforation, thereby making their contents easily available to bacteria. The spark-over occurs between electrode surface and pipe jacket which is the second pole and closes the circuit. The value of voltage ranges from 10 to 100kV. Electrodes are supplied by normal “power grid” monophase electric current (230V, 50Hz). Next, the electric current changes into direct current of 24V in modules serving for particular electrodes, and this current directly feeds the electrodes. The installation is completely safe because the value of generated current does not exceed 250mA and because conductors are grounded. Therefore, there is no risk of electric shock posed to the personnel, even in the case of failure or incorrect connection. Low values of the electric current mean small energy consumption by the electrode which is extremely low – only 35W per electrode – compared to other methods of disintegration. Pipes with electrodes with diameter of DN150 are made of acid-proof steel and connected from both sides with 90º elbows ended with flanges. The available S and U types of pipes enable very convenient fitting with system construction in the existing installations and rooms or facilitate space management in new applications. The system of pipes for electrokinetic disintegration may be installed horizontally, vertically, askew, on special stands or also directly on the wall of a room. The number of pipes and electrodes is determined by operating conditions as well as the quantity of substrate, type of biomass, content of dry matter, method of disintegration (single or circulatory), mounting site etc. The most effective method involves pre-treatment of substrate that may be pumped through the disintegration system on the way to the fermentation tank or recirculated in a buffered intermediate tank (substrate mixing tank). Biomass structure destruction in the process of electrokinetic disintegration causes shortening of substrate retention time in the tank and acceleration of biogas production. A significant intensification of the fermentation process was observed in the systems operating in the technical scale, with the greatest increase in biogas production reaching 18%. The secondary, but highly significant for the energetic balance, effect is a tangible decrease of energy input by agitators in tanks. It is due to reduced viscosity of the biomass after disintegration, and may result in energy savings reaching even 20-30% of the earlier noted consumption. Other observed phenomena include reduction in the layer of surface scum, reduced sewage capability for foaming and successive decrease in the quantity of bottom sludge banks. Considering the above, the system for electrokinetic disintegration seems a very interesting and valuable solutions meeting the offer of specialist equipment for the processing of plant biomass, including Virginia fanpetals, before the process of methane fermentation.

Keywords: electrokinetic disintegration, biomass, biogas production, fermentation, Virginia fanpetals

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