Performance of Acid-Gas Anaerobic Digestion for Minimization of Siloxane and Hydrogen Sulfide Produced in Biogas for Energy Recovery

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Organosilicon compounds, which are heavily utilized in personal care products, are typically present, sometimes in high concentrations in the influent of wastewater treatment facilities. During anaerobic sludge digestion, these compounds volatilize and enter the methane gas recovery stream. As the methane is combusted for energy cogeneration, these compounds become oxidized to microcrystalline silicon dioxide and cause damage and potential failure of expensive infrastructure. Adsorption and other catchment methods are typically utilized for removal of these volatilized compounds in order to mitigate their entrance into methane combustion systems. This research investigated the effect of phased anaerobic digestion, specifically acid-gas digestion, on the behavior of the volatilization of these organosilicon compounds, particularly octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4) and decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5) as these are the most abundant volatile silicone compounds present in sludge. A bench scale acid reactor anaerobic digester was operated at varying solids retention times and temperatures in order to quantify biogas effects generated in the downstream gas reactor, which was operated at a constant mesophilic conditions. Results of the research indicated that the addition of an acid reactor did not cause a change in behavior of the D4 and D5 siloxane volatilization in the downstream gas reactor. However, it was observed that hydrogen sulfide gas was decreased in the gas reactor when an acid reactor was utilized, which could permit decreased corrosivity of biogas recovery. Cumulative volatile solids reduction and gas reactor methane yield data did not indicate an enhancement due to utilization of acid-gas digestion.



siloxane, acid gas anaerobic digestion, hydrogen sulfide, biosolids, sludge, multi-phase anaerobic digestion, multi-stage anaerobic digestion