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Content archived on 2024-05-21

Three step fermentation of solid state biowaste for biogas production and sanitation (3A-BIOGAS)


Objectives and problems to be solved:
In Europe renewable energy (RE) in solid state biowaste is an area with considerable unused potential. Biogas produced out of this biowaste can be applied for fuelling gas turbines in CHP plants or fuel cells. Available kinds of such dry biowaste include municipal solid waste (MSW), separately collected biowaste, waste from the food industry, garden and horticultural waste, material harvested from areas left fallow, etc.

The most used method for treating these wastes is conventional composting: Compost is produced by aerobic degradation with loss of heat to the atmosphere. Anaerobic digestion (AD) of liquid materials below 15% dry matter (DM) is widely used and technologies for this application are well established. Treatment of solid state materials in conventional biogas plants has several disadvantages associated with the large amount of process water required: there is a high energy demand for heating and pumping the process water and sometimes for pressing the digested material. At the end of the process wastewater must be treated.

3A-BIOGAS is a combination of aerobic and anaerobic processing in three steps: 1. aerobic, 2. anaerobic, 3. aerobic. The process generates biogas from solid state biomass (30-70% DM) and therefore uses the energy capacity of the biowaste. The innovative percolation water management avoids further wastewater. Sanitation will take place within the 1st step, further sanitation, deodorisation and final rotting in the 3rd step. The produced compost is predicted to meet the maturation and hygienic requirements of EU Working Document an biowaste treatment /1.1/. It can be used for fertilising and soil improvement.

Biogas production as liquid process is mainly addressing the agricultural waste treatment industry. Biogas plants in the primary agricultural sector in the EU are predominantly in the hands of SMEs (amounts to more than 3 GW). Over 80% of this potential is located in the smaller capacity range below 200 kW electric power. By implementation of 3A-BIOGAS process the respective SMEs could increase the treatment capacity and in consequence their income.
3A-BIOGAS therefore aims at the development to series production of a modular batch system for dry fermentation in the smaller capacity range. In addition to existing liquid fermentation plants with biogas utilisation the installation of a 3A-BIOGAS process as a second treatment line for solid input substrates will lead to several synergies for SME endusers.

Description of work:
The main R&D steps, which have to be tackled in the 3A-BIOGAS project are organised in four phases:
- Phase 1: Requirement Engineering;
- Phase 2: System Development;
- Phase 3: Prototype Manufacturing & Test;
- Phase 4: Socio-Economic Assessment.

These phases are split into major work packages, which are further detailed in tasks and activities where appropriate. The following list gives an overview on the individual work packages:
WP1: Enduser Requirement Specification;
WP2: 3A Process Development;
WP3: Design and Manufacturing of Two Prototype Units;
WP4: Test of Two Prototype Units;
WP5: Socio-Economic Assessment.
Additionally there are separate work packages for Project Management (WP0) and Dissemination and Preparation of Exploitation (WP6), which accompany the project. The figure below shows the flow diagram for the 3A-BIOGAS project.

Expected results and exploitation plans:
Within 3A-BIOGAS, two prototype plants will be manufactured and tested under industrial conditions at two different locations in Europe. The time-to-market for this new three-step batch system should not exceed 6 - 12 months after the end of the project, when the most relevant measures resulting from technical and final assessment are considered. Since the tests will be carried out in two different European states, the results will be effectively promoted and disseminated and relevant support for the market entry of the technology is given.

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Participants (8)