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Application of a fuzzy logic control system for continuous anaerobic digestion of low buffered, acidic energy crops as mono-substrate



Application of a fuzzy logic control system for continuous anaerobic digestion of low buffered, acidic energy crops as mono-substrate



Biotechnology and Bioengineering 102(3): 736-748



A fuzzy logic control (FLC) system was developed at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg) for operation of biogas reactors running on energy crops. Three commercially available measuring parameters, namely pH, the methane (CH4) content, and the specific gas production rate (spec. GPR = m(3)/kg VS/day) were included. The objective was to avoid stabilization of pH with use of buffering supplements, like lime or manure. The developed FLC system can cover most of all applications, such as a careful start-up process and a gentle recovery strategy after a severe reactor failure, also enabling a process with a high organic loading rate (OLR) and a low hydraulic retention time (HRT), that is, a high throughput anaerobic digestion process with a stable pH and CH4 content. A precondition for a high load process was the concept of interval feeding, for example, with 8 h of interval. The FLC system was proved to be reliable during the long term fermentation studies over 3 years in one-stage, completely stirred tank reactors (CSTR) with acidic beet silage as mono-input (pH 3.3-3.4). During fermentation of the fodder beet silage (FBS), a stable HRT of 6.0 days with an OLR of up to 15 kg VS/m(3)/day and a volumetric GPR of 9 m(3)/m(3)/day could be reached. The FLC enabled an automatic recovery of the digester after two induced severe reactor failures. In another attempt to prove the feasibility of the FLC, substrate FBS was changed to sugar beet silage (SBS), which had a substantially lower buffering capacity than that of the FBS. With SBS, the FLC accomplished a stable fermentation at a pH level between 6.5 and 6.6, and a volatile fatty acid level (VFA) below 500 mg/L, but the FLC had to interact and to change the substrate dosage permanently. In a further experiment, the reactor temperature was increased from 41 to 50 degrees C. Concomitantly, the specific GPR, pH and CH4 dropped down. Finally, the FLC automatically enabled a complete recovery in 16 days.

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Accession: 051607264

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 18988261

DOI: 10.1002/bit.22108



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