Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

AWMC Seminar Program: Huanfei Meng

Impacts of co-substrate properties on threshold loading rates in anaerobic co-digestion

Abstract: Many existing anaerobic digesters in Australia are being operated under capacity and thus possess significant potential to receive external waste streams for a combined anaerobic digestion to enhance biogas energy recovery. This simultaneous digestion of two or more waste streams, termed anaerobic co-digestion (AcoD), is an attractive alternative to onsite anaerobic digestion of wastes because the biogas potential of many wastes dictated by the intrinsic properties of the wastes sometimes do not justify an in-vessel anaerobic digestion (AD). Therefore, utilising the combined properties of waste mixtures through AcoD can lead to enhanced biogas production, which potentially offers an economically viable option by leveraging existing capacity of AD facilities.

However, inappropriate AcoD waste mixtures can cause AD process upsets/failure and thus need careful management. Therefore, this PhD aims to research waste compositions (e.g. energy recovery potential) and their impacts on the performance of AcoD process. In particular, the loading thresholds of waste macro-compositions (representing different organic carbon types) into an existing AD digester will be investigated to inform specific industries on optimised co-digestion dosing strategies. Through long-term operation of AD continuous digesters, this project aims to establish the organic loading thresholds of waste macro-compositions representing carbohydrates, proteins and lipids to well-characterised base-substrates (e.g. sewage sludge, agri-industry wastes). In addition, this project will develop understanding of the mechanisms behind process overloading/failure by investigating biological inhibition under various high reactor loading scenarios.  Outcomes of this work will allow water utilities and other industries to better design AcoD waste mixtures for more beneficial AcoD implementation, enabling enhanced energy recovery through novel AcoD applications.

Event Details
Date & Time: 
Tuesday, 19 April 2016
Venue: AIBN Building 75, Level 1 Seminar Room
  • Huanfei (Mike) Meng

Event Contact: