Effect of three pretreatment techniques on the chemical composition and on the methane yields of Opuntia ficus-indica (prickly pear) biomass

P. S. Calabrò, E. Catalán, A. Folino, A. Sánchez, D. Komilis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017. Opuntia ficus-indica (OFI) is an emerging biomass that has the potential to be used as substrate in anaerobic digestion. The goal of this work was to investigate the effect of three pretreatment techniques (thermal, alkaline, acidic) on the chemical composition and the methane yield of OFI biomass. A composite experimental design with three factors and two to three levels was implemented, and regression modelling was employed using a total of 10 biochemical methane potential (BMP) tests. The measured methane yields ranged from 289 to 604 NmL/gVSadded; according to the results, only the acidic pretreatment (HCl) was found to significantly increase methane generation. However, as the experimental values were quite high with regards to the theoretical methane yield of the substrate, this effect still needs to be confirmed via further research. The alkaline pretreatment (NaOH) did not noticeably affect methane yields (an average reduction of 8% was recorded), despite the fact that it did significantly reduce the lignin content. Thermal pretreatment had no effect on the methane yields or the chemical composition. Scanning electron microscopy images revealed changes in the chemical structure after the addition of NaOH and HCl. Modelling of the cumulated methane production by the Gompertz modified equation was successful and aided in understanding kinetic advantages linked to some of the pretreatments. For example, the alkaline treatment (at the 20% dosage) at room temperature resulted to a μmax (maximum specific methane production rate [NmLCH4/(gVSadded·d)]) equal to 36.3 against 18.6 for the control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-29
JournalWaste Management and Research
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Opuntia ficus-indica
  • biogas
  • cactus biomass
  • cellulose
  • hemicellulose
  • lignin
  • pretreatment

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