Enhancement of solubilization rate of cellulose in anaerobic digestion and its drawbacks
Journal article, 2011
Hydrolysis is widely acknowledged as the rate-limiting step in anaerobic digestion of solid cellulose to biogas, and pretreatment is generally considered to facilitate the process. However, few studies have investigated how such pretreatment may affect the rest of this complex process. The present study compared the solubilization rate in anaerobic digestion of cotton linter (high crystalline cellulose), with that of regenerated cellulose (amorphous cellulose), using pretreatment with NMMO. Batch digestions were performed, with the initial cellulose concentrations ranging between 5 and 40 g/l, and during 30 days of incubation, biogas and VFAs production as well as pH and COD changes were measured. The lag time before digestion started was longer for the high crystalline cellulose than for the amorphous one. The maximum solubilization ratesof treated cellulose were 842 and 517 mg sCOD/g cCOD/day at the initial cellulose concentration of 5 and 30 g/l respectively, while the solubilization rate of untreated cellulose never exceeded 417 mg sCOD/g cCOD/day. The difference between the two cellulose types was a direct result of the high rate of hydrolysis inhibiting the acetogenesis/methanogenesis microorganisms, a drawback to the rest of the process.