This study investigated routine bioaugmentation in the acid-phase of a two-phase anaerobic digestion (AD) process treating a largely cellulosic waste material generated from sweet corn processing. A proprietary cellulolytic bioculture was used for bioaugmentation with the aim of increasing substrate hydrolysis to improve overall methanogenic efficiency. In a sequencing batch experiment routine bioaugmentation achieved significantly greater soluble chemical oxygen demand (sCOD) generation (+25%) and methane production (+15%) compared to one-time bioaugmentation. In a continuous bench-scale system, routine bioaugmentation increased acid-phase sCOD by 29-68% and acetic acid concentrations by 31-34%. This benefit to hydrolysis and acetogenesis subsequently led to sustained increase in methane production (+56%) compared to non-bioaugmentation. A cursory economic analysis indicated that routine bioaugmentation could improve the economics of corn waste AD by $27-$34/dry tonne of waste. Overall, routine bioaugmentation showed significant promise for improving AD of corn waste by achieving sustained increases in substrate hydrolysis and methane production.
- Anaerobic digestion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Waste Management and Disposal