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Tackling ammonia inhibition for efficient biogas production from chicken manure: Status and technical trends in Europe and China

Fuchs W, Wang X, Gabauer W, Ortner M, Li Z.

Published 2018

Citation: Fuchs W, Wang X, Gabauer W, Ortner M, Li Z. Tackling ammonia inhibition for efficient biogas production from chicken manure: Status and technical trends in Europe and China (Review). Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 2018;97:186-199.

Abstract

The increased global consumption of chicken products has resulted in the generation of huge amounts of manure. Numerous studies emphasized the large potential of this waste as an untapped source of renewable energy through anaerobic digestion (AD). However, intrinsic difficulties, in particular the high N content, induce instable process conditions, including the accumulation of intermediates, and foaming, which reduces methane yields. Such issues limit the widespread application of this energy-rich substrate for biogas production. The process inhibition by ammonia is usually prevented by reducing the concentration of chicken manure through dilution or by operating the plant considerably below its theoretical reactor capacity. However, this process compromises process efficiency, thereby increasing capital investments and operational costs. Another option to achieve optimal process performance is co-digestion with less N-rich materials. However, co-digestion also has its limitations due to the frequent unavailability of sufficient amounts of C-rich substrates. A series of promising technical solutions have been developed to overcome the aforementioned bottlenecks. Examples include stripping or membrane extraction as means to reduce ammonia concentration in the fermenter. Several full-scale plants employing ammonia removal techniques have been installed recently. Latest research also investigated the use of additives, such as zeolites and trace elements, as well as bioaugmentation, to mitigate ammonia inhibition. The current study reviews the state of technology as well as recent achievements and perspectives. It provides an overview of the different approaches to remove ammonia from AD-process and presents practical examples from China and Europe.

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