Abstract by Hanna Burgin
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Increases in Anaerobic Digestion Biomethane Production Following Pretreatment with Caldicellulosiruptor bescii
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a renewable energy process used to convert biowaste into biomethane. Because much of the carbon in initial substrates is not converted into biomethane, the process is too inefficient to be considered as a viable energy option. This inefficiency occurs because AD substrates tend to contain high amounts of cellulose and lignin, which are difficult to break down. Caldicellulosiruptor bescii (C. bescii) is a hyperthermophilic anaerobe that can effectively break down lignocellulosic waste streams and transform them into more accessible forms of carbon. For this reason, C. bescii was used as a biological pretreatment method preceding anaerobic digestion. Lawn clippings, waste activated sludge, corn mash, and cow manure were each pretreated in 30 L vessels by C. bescii for 48 hours before the solution was transferred to 60 L AD vessels. The produced gas was collected and measured for methane composition. Pretreatment with C. bescii lead to an increase in biomethane production during anaerobic digestion of each material.