Skip to main content

Automated system based on on-line VFA sensors for an optimised control of anaerobic digestion plants

Objective

Anaerobic digestion is a biological process where the organic matter is degraded to form biogas and a digestate. Biogas can be fired in combined heat and power (CHP) engines or purified and injected into the gas grid. The total primary energy produced from biogas in Europe was 5.9 million toe in 2007, and there is still growing potential, since the white paper objective for 2010 is 15 million toe and there is a huge amount of organic waste available that is disposed without valorisation.
Control and optimisation of AD plants is a key issue and one of the main research topics of this field. AD plants operators usually have to drive the plant with the only information of pH and biogas composition. This often leads to a situation of underuse of the plant, if the operator prefers to drive the plant in a conservative way, or process malfunction, if the operator chooses to drive the plant near the load limit.
Out of all the parameters proposed to control the process, the more reliable is the volatile fatty acids profile (VFAP) that consists on the single VFA concentration (acetate, propionate, butyrate etc.). This parameter allows checking not only the process state but also predicting and avoiding process malfunction, what is not possible with other parameters (pH, biogas composition, etc.). With the information of VFAP, AD plants operators could optimise the plant, increase biogas production and avoid process stops. The currently available technique to measure VFAP is gas chromatography (GC): an off-line measurement that needs specific equipment and trained specialists, and takes 1-2 weeks between the sampling and the results, making the measurement no longer valuable for process optimisation.
AD-WISE aims to develop an on-line device able to get real time VFAP measurements based on optic techniques and to integrate these measurements in the control system of the AD plant in order to optimise the process (maximise biogas production while maintaining process stability).

Field of science

  • /engineering and technology/electrical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineering/electronic engineering/automation and control systems
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/lipids

Call for proposal

FP7-SME-2012
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

BSG-SME - Research for SMEs

Coordinator

AINIA
Address
Calle Benjamin Franklin 5-11 Valencia Parc Tecnologic
46980 Paterna Valencia
Spain
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 25 000
Administrative Contact
Daniel Gonzalez (Mr.)

Participants (4)

S.A.T. N. 299 SAN RAMON
Spain
EU contribution
€ 179 000
Address
Calle Emparrado 11 Puerta Bj
46920 Mislata
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Mª Dolores Ramos Herrero (Ms.)
THE NATIONAL MICROELECTRONICS APPLICATIONS CENTRE LTD
Ireland
EU contribution
€ 385 000
Address
Suparule House, Lonsdale Road National Technologicy Park
. Limerick
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
John O'flaherty (Dr.)
FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG E.V.
Germany
EU contribution
€ 8 000
Address
Hansastrasse 27C
80686 Munchen
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Christoph Schulte (Mr.)
INTERSPECTRUM OU
Estonia
EU contribution
€ 342 000
Address
Riia Street 185A
51014 Tartu
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Teofilus Tonnisson (Dr.)