Municipal solid wastes are major sources of air, water and soil contamination. There is a need for alternative waste management techniques to better utilize the waste and minimize its adverse environmental impact. A two-phase pilot-scale bio-fermentation system was used to evaluate the feasibility of producing methane from grass waste, a major constituent of solid wastes. The bi-phasic system consists of a solid phase and a methane phase. Leachate is re-circulated through the solid phase until a desired level of volatile fatty acid (VFA) is accumulated in the leachate. The leachate is then transferred to the methane reactor where the VFA is converted to methane. The results showed that 67% of the volatile solids in the waste can be converted into soluble chemical oxygen demand in a period of six months. The system produced an average of 0.15 m3 of methane per kg of grass. The average methane concentration in the produced gas was 71%. A mathematical model was developed to estimate the methane and carbon dioxide concentrations in the gas phase as a function of reactor properties.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge financial assistance from the Waste Education Research Consortium (WERC)/DOE, and the New Energy Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan. We would also like to thank the City of Albuquerque, NM for assisting with gas sample analysis.
- Anaerobic digestion
- Organic solid waste