Scholarly article on topic 'Numerical Study of Anaerobic Digestion System for Olive Pomace and Mill Wastewater'

Numerical Study of Anaerobic Digestion System for Olive Pomace and Mill Wastewater Academic research paper on "Chemical engineering"

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Numerical study / Anaerobic digestion / Olive pomace / Polyphenols

Abstract of research paper on Chemical engineering, author of scientific article — Marco Milanese, Arturo de Risi, Andrea de Riccardis, Domenico Laforgia

Abstract This work aims to develop an anaerobic digestion system, which allows recovering energy from olive wastes, solving the problem of their disposal. To reach this result, polyphenols, which are contained in olives inhibiting the digestion process, have to be abated. For this reason a new anaerobic digestion system able to treat the high concentration of polyphenols has been studied. Particularly, this system, composed by a storage of olive pomace, a mixing/washing unit, a pomace/water separation unit (decanter), an ultrafiltration unit and an anaerobic digester, has been numerically investigated to evaluate the anaerobic digestion key variables as a function of the hydraulic retention time (HRT), as well as the production of biogas for different values of the biomass yield factor. The results revealed that by abating polyphenols, the methane potential of the system under investigation rises from 7.5 molCH4/kgTSS to 11.7 molCH4/kgTSS, with an increment of about 56%, for HRT equal to 30 days.

Academic research paper on topic "Numerical Study of Anaerobic Digestion System for Olive Pomace and Mill Wastewater"

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Energy Procedia 45 (2014) 141 - 149

68th Conference of the Italian Thermal Machines Engineering Association, ATI2013

Numerical study of anaerobic digestion system for olive pomace

and mill wastewater

Marco Milanesea*, Arturo de Risia, Andrea de Riccardisa, Domenico Laforgiaa

aDepartment of Engineering for Innovation - University of Salento, Via per Arnesano, 73100 Lecce, Italy

Abstract

This work aims to develop an anaerobic digestion system, which allows recovering energy from olive wastes, solving the problem of their disposal. To reach this result, polyphenols, which are contained in olives inhibiting the digestion process, have to be abated. For this reason a new anaerobic digestion system able to treat the high concentration of polyphenols has been studied. Particularly, this system, composed by a storage of olive pomace, a mixing/washing unit, a pomace/water separation unit (decanter), an ultrafiltration unit and an anaerobic digester, has been numerically investigated to evaluate the anaerobic digestion key variables as a function of the hydraulic retention time (HRT), as well as the production of biogas for different values of the biomass yield factor.

The results revealed that by abating polyphenols, the methane potential of the system under investigation rises from 7.5 molCH4/kgTSS to 11.7 molCH4/kgTSS, with an increment of about 56%, for HRT equal to 30 days.

© 2013 TheAuthors.Published by ElsevierLtd. Selectionandpeer-review underresponsibilityof ATI NAZIONALE

Keywords: Numerical study; Anaerobic digestion; Olive pomace; Polyphenols.

1. Introduction

In Italy, olive tree is the third cultivation by extension, exceeding one million hectares. The olive oil industry in general produces, in addition, of course, to oil, two types of waste: pomace, resulting from olive pulp, and mill wastewaters, essentially constituted by process water and olive aqueous fraction.

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +39-0832-297760; fax: +39-0832-297777. E-mail address: marco.milanese@unisalento.it

1876-6102 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and peer-review under responsibility of ATI NAZIONALE doi: 10.1016/j.egypro.2014.01.016

Nomenclature

aACET kinetic parameter

aBUT kinetic parameter

O-PROp kinetic parameter

[ACET] Concentration of acetic acid [mol L-1]

[BUT] Concentration of butyric acid [mol L-1]

[H2] Concentration of liquid Hydrogen [mol L-1]

HRT Hydraulic retention time [s]

[H.S] Concentration of hydrolyzed solids [gCOD L-1]

khydro Kinetic constant of hydrolysis reaction

KSACET Kinetic parameter

KSBUT Kinetic parameter

Kshs Kinetic parameter

KSPR0P Kinetic parameter

nCH4 Methane [mol (gas)]

nH2 Hydrogen [mol (gas)]

[PROP] Concentration of propionic acid [mol L-1]

P Partial pressure [Pa]

r Rate of variation

t time (s)

[TSS] Concentration of total suspended solids [gCOD L-1]

umaxACET Kinetic parameter

umaxBUT Kinetic parameter

umaxHS Kinetic parameter

umaxPROP Kinetic parameter

VD Volume of digester [L]

VFA Volatile fatty acid

[FSS] Concentration of volatile suspended solids [gCOD L-1]

Yx Biomass yield factor [gVSS/gCOD]

At present, Italian laws permit agronomic use of olive pomace and mill wastewater, but it is forbidden to spread or leave on land such wastes, as uncontrolled practice of disposing. From here the necessity to develop an anaerobic digestion system, which allows recovering energy from olive wastes, solving the problem of their disposal.

Anaerobic digestion of biomass is a well-known biological process producing biogas and biofertilizer [1]. The process begins with bacterial hydrolysis, which transforms the input materials, such as carbohydrates, into soluble derivatives that become available for other bacteria. In this stage, acidogenic processes convert sugars and amino acids into carbon dioxide, hydrogen, ammonia and organic acids. Then, these resulting organic acids are transformed into acetic acid, along with ammonia, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide and finally, methanogen bacteria produce methane.

In the last years, several biogas plants have been built, mainly in Northern Europe, to treat various types of organic residues including sewage sludge, food industry residues, manure, etc. [2-7]. Among these, in the future olive pomace and mill wastewater can play an important role, but a problem, represented by high concentration of polyphenols, have to be solved because of their inhibitory influence on the digestion process [8-10].

Many studies have been carried out on the physic-chemical and biological treatment of olive pomace with efficiency of organic matter removal lying between 65-95%. Borja et al., in different works [11-15], studied the anaerobic digestion of two-phase olive mill solid waste in a laboratory-scale reactor at mesophilic temperature (35 °C), for several concentrations of total solids.

Erguder et al. [16] conducted biochemical tests to determine the anaerobic biodegradability of olive oil mill wastes.

Gavala et al. [17] investigated the thermophilic biohydrogen and methane production from olive pulp diluted 1:4 with tap water. Besides he developed a mathematical model able to describe the anaerobic digestion of the olive pulp, both in continuous and batch experiments.

An open issue for olive oil industry is represented from mill wastewater, which can be reused in agriculture, but cannot be spread on land, as uncontrolled practice of disposing. For this reason, several authors have studied different ways to solve this problem.

Fountoulakis et al. [1] examined the potential for methane production from anaerobic co-digestion of olive mill wastewater and wine-grape residues with slaughterhouse wastewater.

Benitez et al. [18] studied the treatment of olive mill wastewaters by ozonation, aerobic degradation and the combination of both treatments.

The present work focuses on the development of a new pilot scale system for anaerobic digestion able to treat, at the same time, olive pomace and mill wastewater. The system under investigation is capable to reduce the high concentration of polyphenols (which are present both in pomace and in mill wastewater) and to increase, in this way, the efficiency of organic matter removal. For this system, a numerical study has been carried out to evaluate the key process variables of anaerobic digestion as a function of time, as well as methane production during digestion process.

2. Description of anaerobic digestion system

The anaerobic digestion system under investigation is constituted by a series of technical units connected together to perform a sequence of specific functions (see Fig. 1). It can easily distinguishes:

A. Storage of olive pomace;

B. Mixing and washing unit;

C. Filtration system composed by pomace/water separation sub-unit (decanter) and ultrafiltration sub-unit;

D. Anaerobic digestion unit.

Fig. 1. Flowchart of anaerobic digestion system for olive pomace

The two-phases pomace, before to be fed to the digester, has been washed and diluted 1:4, by using olive mill wastewater, previously treated to reduce the high concentration of polyphenols: in this way, it is possible to treat, at the same time, olive pomace and mill wastewater.

As schematically shown in Fig. 1, the pomace is withdrawn from the storage and sent to a tank of mixing and washing. Here, it is mixed with the ultrafiltered water from the filtration system, which is composed by two sub-unit: decanter and ultrafiltration. The water, leaving the decanter, is fed to the ultrafiltration sub-unit and then returns in the previous tank of mixing, while the washed pomace is introduced to the digester.

3. Mathematical model

Accordingly with Gavala et al. [17], the anaerobic digestion process, can be modeled as shown in Fig. 2.

Butyric and propionic acids + hydrogen (VFA + H2)

Monod with inhibition of H2

Methane Acetic acid + hydrogen

Monod (CH3COOH + H2)

Total Suspended Solids (TSS) Hydrolyzed Solids

lst-order (HS) Monod

Fig. 2. Simplified model describing the anaerobic digestion of olive industry waste [17].

The solids (olive pulp) are hydrolyzed to soluble organic matter, which is further fermented to Volatile Fatty Acid (VFA), butyrate and propionate. Acetic acid is obtained from the transformation of butyric and propionic acids and finally methane is produced from acetic acid, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The hypothesis of the model are reported next:

• first-order kinetics can be assumed for the hydrolysis of the solids;

• simple Monod kinetics for conversion of soluble organic matter to VFA and acetate and hydrogen to methane;

• modified Monod kinetics including hydrogen inhibition for the degradation of butyric and propionic acids to acetate;

• thermodynamical equilibrium between hydrogen in liquid phase (generated from fermentation of soluble organic matter) and gas-phase;

• perfectly mixed digester;

• constant pressure and temperature.

The first reaction of the model is represented by hydrolysis of Total Suspended Solids [TSS]. The [TSS] variation as a function of time (rTSS) can be written as:

'TSS — khydrol-TSS]

Where khydro is the kinetic constant of hydrolysis reaction.

The kinetics of transformation of Hydrolyzed Solids [#>S] is given by the following equation:

4 HS] (3)

~ = ~rHS + rTSS

at With

umaxHs[HS] r (4)

rHS =--—- [V.S.S]

KSHS + lHS\

Where umaxHS and KSHS are two kinetic parameters and [FSS] represents the volatile suspended solids concentration.

With regard to butyric acid [BUT], propionic acid [PROP] and acetic acid [ACET] concentration, we can write: d[BUT] _ (5)

^ = aBUTrHS + rBUT

= UmaxBUT [BUT] 1 (6)

rmT KSBUT + [BUT]L J 1 + 2000PH2

d[PROP] _ (7)

^ = aPROPrHS + rBUT ~ rPROP

_ umaxPROP [PROP] _1 (8)

Vop ~ KSPROP + [PROP]LK66J1 + 2000PH2

d[ACET] | n | (9)

_ aACETrHS + ¿rBUT + rPROP rACET

umaxACET

[ACET] (10)

rACET ~ Ksacet + [ACET] L^55J

Where aBUT, umaxBUT, KSBUT, aPR0P, umaxPR0P, KSPR0P, aACET, umaxACET, KSACET are kinetic parameters. Finally, the production of gas-phase hydrogen (nH2) and methane (nCH4 ) (as number of moles) can be written as:

dnH2_r w (11)

^ — \aHrHS + ¿rBUT + 6rPROP rH2) VD

dnCH4 f w (12)

= Vacet + 0.25 rHl) VD

umaxH2PH2 Urrri (13)

r«2 = K-^

KSH2 + ^H2

In the equations above reported [FXS] is calculated as: d t^] ^ , _ _ _ ^ (14)

^ — YxKrTSS + rHS + rBUT + rPROP rACETJ

Where Yx represents the biomass yield factor. This parameter, which relates the amount of bacteria generated with respect to the amount of substrate consumed for its generation, plays a very important role in the olive waste digestion process because of its strong correlation with the concentration of polyphenols. In other words, polyphenols, which inhibit reaction kinetics, can be taken into account by means of biomass yield factor.

4. Procedure of calculation

Accordingly with Gavala et al. [17], Table 1 shows the parameters of the digestion model, whereas Table 2 indicates the initial conditions for calculation.

Table 1. Parameters of the digestion model

Symbol Value Units

umaxB UT 7.2 -10"5 mol gVSS"1 h"1

umaxPROP 3.2 -10"5 mol gVSS"1 h"1

umaxACET 19.0 10"5 mol gVSS"1 h"1

^uaaHH 3.71 10"3 mol gVSS"1 h"1

KSBUT 2.0 -10"4 mol L"1

KSPROP 1.0 10"4 mol L"1

K^SACE 5.8 10"4 mol L"1

KSH2 3.85 104 Pa

umaxHS 1.23 -10"2 gHS gVSS"1 h"1

KS1SSS 5.31 10"1 gHS L"1

abuU 8.0 10"2 gCODbutyric gHS"1

t-lpropi 1.2 10"1 gCODpropionic gHS"1

aacet> 6.7 10"1 gCODaCetic gHS"1

an, 3.0 10"2 gCODhydrogen gHS"1

kdro, 5.0 10"2 h"1

Ph2 7.75 -109 Pa (55°C)

The mathematical model, solved by means of the Radau algorithm [19], have been applied to a continuous digestion process, considering the following hypothesis:

1) the volume of the digester (VD) is equal to 1000 L;

2) the pressure of the digester is equal to 1.0 105 Pa (atmospheric pressure);

3) an initial period of time of 10 days is needed to start the digestion process;

4) during the start period, the digestion system works as fed-batch plant;

5) introduction of new pomace and mill wastewater in the digestion system begins after the start period, with a mass

flow rate equal to 0.01 ■ VD;

6) the inhibitory effect of polyphenols is taking into account by means of the biomass yield factor, Yx, which is

supposed in the range [0.02-0.06 gVSS/gCOD], accordingly with Cecchi et al. [20];

7) the maximum period of time of simulation is equal to 100 days.

Table 2. Initial conditions for calculation

Symbol Initial value Units

[ras] 55.0 gCOD L-1

[ffi] 10.0 gCOD L-1

[BUT] 0.0 mol L-1

[PROP] 0.0 mol L-1

[ACET] 0.0 mol L-1

nH2 1 10-3 mol (gas)

nCHl 0.0 mol (gas)

[FSS] 3.0 gCOD L-1

5. Methane production and discussion of results

The performance of the new system for anaerobic digestion of olive pomace and mill wastewater, have been analyzed by means of methane production. In this way, the Fig. 3 shows the TSS profile and the methane production as a function of hydraulic retention time (HRT) for 2 values of Yx (0.02 and 0.06 gVSS/gCOD).

Fig. 3. TSS profile (a) and methane production (b) as a function of HRT for 3 values of Yx.

The methane production is strictly correlated to the HRT and the biomass yield factor, Yx. As Fig. 3 shows, during the starting period (240 h), the TSS profile tends to zero and the methane production is insignificant. After this period, the TSS continuous supply begins increasing rapidly the methane production, which tends to a value of about 10 mol/h. In other words, the methane production results independent from the biomass yield factor for very high values of HRT (higher than 100 days), but for lower values of this parameter (30 days, as required from olive oil industry), the biomass yield factor can play a fundamental role in order to increase the methane potential of the olive pulp (CH4 production per gram of TSS added). To reinforce this concept, Table 3 shows the methane potential in the cases of HRT equal to 30 and 60 days for 2 values of Yx.

Table 3. Methane potential in the cases of HRT equal to 30 and 60 days, for 2 values of yx

Yx = 0.02 Yx = 0.06

Methane potential (HRT=30 days) 7.5 11.7

[molCH kgTSS-1]

Methane potential (HRT=60 days) 15.3 16.9

[molCH kgTSS-1]

As it is possible to see, when the biomass yield factor rises from 0.02 to 0.06, the 30 days HRT methane potential changes from 7.5 molCH4/kgTSS to 11.7 molCH4/kgTSS, with an increment of about 56%. Taking into account that, the biomass yield factor is strictly correlated with the concentration of polyphenols in the olive pulp and wastewater, the possibility to treat and reduce these substances, as proposed in this paper, can improve significantly the performance of an anaerobic digester for olive pomace.

6. Conclusions

In the present paper, a new system for anaerobic digestion of olive pomace and mill wastewater in ratio 1:4 has been studied.

The system under investigation is composed by a storage of olive pomace, a mixing and washing unit, a pomace/water separation unit (decanter) an ultrafiltration unit, which can allow to reduce the high concentration of polyphenols, and an anaerobic digester.

Particularly, a numerical study has been carried out to evaluate the methane production as a function of hydraulic retention time and for different values of biomass yield factor.

The results revealed the importance to treat and reduce polyphenols to improve the performance of anaerobic digestion system. In fact, when the biomass yield factor rises from 0.02 to 0.06, the 30 days HRT methane potential changes from 7.5 molCH4/kgTSS to 11.7 molCH4/kgTSS, with an increment of about 56%.

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