Food waste has a high energy potential that can be converted into useful energy in the form of methane via anaerobic digestion. Biochemical Methane Potential assays (BMPs) were conducted to quantify the impacts on methane production of different ratios of food waste. Anaerobic digester sludge (ADS) was used as the inoculum, and BMPs were performed at food waste:inoculum ratios of 0.42, 1.42, and 3.0 g chemical oxygen demand/g volatile solids (VS). The 1.42 ratio had the highest CH4-COD recovery: 90% of the initial total chemical oxygen demand (TCOD) was from food waste, followed by ratios 0.42 and 3.0 at 69% and 57%, respectively. Addition of food waste above 0.42 caused a lag time for CH4 production that increased with higher ratios, which highlighted the negative impacts of overloading with food waste. The Gompertz equation was able to represent the results well, and it gave lag times of 0, 3.6 and 30 days and maximum methane productions of 370, 910, and 1950 mL for ratios 0.42, 1.42 and 3.0, respectively. While ratio 3.0 endured a long lag phase and low VSS destruction, ratio 1.42 achieved satisfactory results for all performance criteria. These results provide practical guidance on food-waste-to-inoculum ratios that can lead to optimizing methanogenic yield.
Hobbs, S.R., et al. Enhancing anaerobic digestion of food waste through biochemical methane potential assays at different substrate: inoculum ratios. Waste Management (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2017.06.029