Effects of initial total solids on composting of raw manure with biogas recovery

Sadaka, S.S.; Engler, C.R.

Compost Science and Utilization 11(4): 361-369


ISSN/ISBN: 1065-657X
DOI: 10.1080/1065657x.2003.10702146
Accession: 004134960

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A batch anaerobic composting process was investigated to evaluate the potential for biogas recovery from animal manure under the worst scenario of high initial solids and non-well adapted microorganisms. The effects of composting time and initial total solids content on biogas recovery and reduction of solids during anaerobic digestion of swine, poultry and beef manure were studied. Volatile solids reductions averaged 10% or less over a 30-day period for all initial solids contents, which was considerably lower than expected. Reductions in VS increased slightly as initial solids content in the reactor decreased. Reductions in COD were somewhat higher than for VS. The pH values were fairly stable during the composting experiments and within the range suitable for anaerobic digestion. Decreases in TKN and ammonia nitrogen during the process were insignificant, and greater decreases were observed for lower initial solids content in the reactors. Cumulative biogas production increased with decreasing solids content in the reactor for all types of manure. For the lowest initial solids contents (12-14%), swine manure produced more biogas, but at the higher initial solids contents there was little difference among the manure types. Biogas yields were about 0.5 m3/kg VS consumed for the lowest solids contents; however, yields were only about 0.2 m3/kg VS consumed for the higher initial solids. Methane content of the biogas samples averaged 49%. Based on these results, it appears that adapting microbial populations in the high solids feedstock may obtain reasonable biogas production rates and VS reduction during anaerobic digestion. Although some differences in results among the three types of manure were noted, they were not large and likely would not be significant with adapted microbial populations.