Optimizing anaerobic digestion by selection of the immobilizing surface for enhanced methane production

Nicholas Adu-Gyamfi, Sreenivas Rao Ravella, Phil J. Hobbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (SciVal)


Maximizing methane production while maintaining an appreciable level of process stability is a crucial challenge in the anaerobic digestion industry. In this study, the role of six parameters: the type of immobilizing supports, loading rate, inoculum levels, C:N ratio, trace nutrients concentrations and mixing rate, on methane production were investigated under thermophilic conditions (55 ± 1 °C) with synthetic substrate medium. The immobilizing supports were Silica gel, Sand, Molecular Sieve and Dowex Marathon beads. A Taguchi Design of Experiment (DOE) methodology was employed to determine the effects of different parameters using an L16 orthogonal array. Overall, immobilizing supports influenced methane production substantially (contributing 61.3% of the observed variation in methane yield) followed by loading rate and inoculum which had comparable influence (17.9% and 17.7% respectively). Optimization improved methane production by 153% (from 183 to 463 ml CH4 l−1 d−1).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-255
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
Early online date21 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2012


  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Optimization
  • Taguchi
  • Supports
  • Methane
  • Anaerobiosis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Biofuels/analysis
  • Alkalies/chemistry
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biotechnology/methods
  • Bioreactors
  • Methane/biosynthesis
  • Surface Properties
  • Volatilization
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration


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