Thermophilic methane production from hydrothermally pretreated norway spruce (Picea abies)
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionGhimire, N., Bakke, R. & Bergland, W. H. (2020). Thermophilic Methane Production from Hydrothermally Pretreated Norway Spruce (Picea abies). Applied Sciences, 10(14), 4989. https://doi.org/10.3390/app10144989
Norway spruce (Picea abies) is an industrially important softwood species available in northern Europe and can be used to produce bio-methane after proper pretreatment to overcome its recalcitrant complex structure. Hot water extraction (HWE) pretreatment at two different conditions (170 °C for 90 min (severity 4.02) and 140 °C for 300 min (severity 3.65)) was applied to extract hemicellulosic sugars from Norway spruce for thermophilic anaerobic digestion (AD) of the hydrolysate. The methane yield of hydrolysate prepared at the lower pretreatment severity was found to be 189 NmL/gCOD compared to 162 NmL/gCOD after the higher pretreatment severity suggesting higher pretreatment severity hampers the methane yield due to the presence of inhibitors formed due to sugars and lignin degradation and soluble lignin, extracted partially along with hemicellulosic sugars. Synthetic hydrolysates simulating real hydrolysates (H170syn and H140syn) had improved methane yield of 285 NmL/gCOD and 295 NmL/gCOD, respectively in the absence of both the inhibitors and soluble lignin. An effect of organic loadings (OLs) on the methane yield was observed with a negative correlation between OL and methane yield. The maximum methane yield was 290 NmL/gCOD for hydrolysate pretreated at 140 °C compared to 195 NmL/gCOD for hydrolyate pretreated at 170 °C, both at the lowest OL of 6 gCOD/L. Therefore, both pretreatment conditions and OL need to be considered for efficient methane production from extracted hydrolysate. Such substrates can be utilized in continuous flow industrial AD with well-adapted cultures with stable organic loading rates.