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Study Shows Biochar Could Improve Anaerobic Digestion

The technology used in anaerobic digestion at plants using our vacuum relief valves is constantly evolving, and studies in the field are more and more common as the popularity of the process grows for both energy production and waste recycling.

The latest study, produced by Texas A&M scientists, has discovered that a material can potentially help improve efficiency of the anaerobic digestion process, according to Bioenergy News. Biochar is a charcoal material made of by-products of agricultural processes and evidence indicates it will make managing animal manure in the anaerobic digestion process much easier.

Biochar can be used as both a fertiliser and a filter for contaminates in water and wastewater, including antibiotics, pesticides and hormones, also snaring carbon dioxide and ammonia in the process.

According to Dr. Eunsung Kan, co-author of the study, saw that methane production using biochar increased by 40 per cent, but that we’re a little off implementation in the industry: “When we optimise conditions and move to the test phase on a dairy then we will know what capital investment and footprint would be necessary to build sustainable digesters that can meet the disposal needs and then apply that to other operations based on their capacity,” he said.

The study also found that was a reduction in processing time by up to 70 per cent using biochar enhanced digesters. These increases in efficiency would mean for reduced operating costs, as water usage and land requirements would all be lower, as well as producing more profit in a shorter time, reducing the need for initial cost outlays. However, the scientists admit that more research is required into optimum conditions and how the process leaves in the presence of biochar.