Comparison of Dairy Manure Anaerobic Digestion Performance in Gas-lift and Bubble Column Digesters
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Anaerobic digestion is one of the most promising management options for dairy manure treatment. Manure wastewater from dairy farms has been used for methane production for decades. However, performance failure due to inadequate mixing is routine. In general, the mixng of anaerobic digester is achived throguh mechnical stirring, liquid circulation, and gas circulation, among which the gas circulation proves to be the most effcient way. In this work, we studied the liquid flow pattern of two differetn type of gas-circualtion based anaerobic digesters, with the aim to understand the effects of hydrodynamic behavior of the digesting liquid on the anaerobic digestion performance, so a better mixing strategy can be provided. We used two 20-L gas circulation based anaerobic digesters with confined (gas-lift) and unconfined (bubble column) design. The anaerobic digestion performance and mixing behaviors were studied at different gas recirculation rate. It was found that the biogas production from the bubble column was constantly higher than that from gas-lift digester. However, the overall flow of the two digesters, which is indicated by residence time distribution (RTD), showed a similar pattern. Furhter investigation of local liquid flow behavior using Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) indicate that the bubble column accumulated higher portion of sludge in the bottom of the digester, which has a higher TS and VS, COD, and biomethane production potential than those from the gas-lift digester. This is the reason that the biogas production from the bubble column is higher than the gas-lift digester. Through this study, a thorough characterization of the flow behavior of the anaerobic digester were developed, and provided a deep insight of its influence on the anaerobic digestion performance.
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