THE IMPACT OF EXTRUSION ON THE BIOGAS AND BIOMETHANE YIELD OF PLANT SUBSTRATES
 
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1
Institute of Biosystems Engineering, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 28 St., 60-637 Poznań, Poland
2
Institute of Food Technology of Plant Origin, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 28 St., 60-637 Poznań, Poland
3
Department of Production Organization and Engineering, Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW, Nowoursynowska 164, 02-787 Warszawa, Poland
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Agnieszka Anna Pilarska   

Institute of Food Technology of Plant Origin, Poznan University of Life Sciences, ul. Wojska Polskiego 28, 60-637 Poznań, Poland
Publish date: 2016-09-20
 
J. Ecol. Eng. 2016; 17(4):264–272
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ABSTRACT
The objective of the present work was to determine the effect of pretreatment by extrusion on the biogas and biomethane yield of lignocellulosic substrates such as maize silage and maize straw silage. The biogas yields of the substrates before and after treatment were compared. Moreover, energy efficiency of pretreatment by extrusion was analyzed in order to assess the applicability of the process in an agricultural biogas plant. Extrusion tests were carried out in a short single-screw extruder KZM-2 in which the length-to-diameter ratio of the screw was 6:1 and rotational speed was 200 rpm. The biogas yield tests of the plant substrates after extrusion were carried out in a laboratory scale, using 15 biofermenters operated in a periodic manner, at a constant temperature of 39°C (mesophilic digestion) and controlled pH conditions. The gas-emission analysis was performed using a certified gas analyzer from Geotech GA5000. Pretreatment by extrusion was observed to improve the quantity of methane generated: in terms of fresh matter for maize silage subjected to extrusion, the methane yield was 16.48% higher than that of the non-extruded silage. On the other hand, maize straw silage after extrusion gave 35.30% more methane than did the same, non-extruded, material. Differences in yields relative to dry organic matter are also described in this paper. Taking into account the amount of energy that is spent on pretreatment and the generated amount of methane, the energy balance for the process gives an idea of the economics of the operation. For maize silage, energy efficiency was lower by 13.21% (-553.2 kWh/Mg), in contrast to maize straw silage, where the increase in energy was 33.49% (678.4 kWh/Mg). The obtained results indicate that more studies on the pretreatment and digestion of maize silage are required in order to improve the efficiency of its use for making biogas. To fully utilize its potential, it is necessary to know thoroughly the effect of the extrusion process and of biogas production on energy efficiency at different conditions.