Activity: Talk or presentation › Oral presentation
Anaerobic digestion is one of the most commonly used technologies to convert biomass to methane and subsequently electricity and heat. In light of the food vs. fuel discussion and the increasing land use (esp. in Germany) of energy crops for biogas production, alternative substrates need to be considered. Use of agricultural residues (e.g. plant stalks and leaves, manure, dung) can contribute to reduce the demand for energy crops. Leaves and stalks of cereals are rich in lignocellulose that needs to be broken up to increase bioavailability. Two pretreatment methods were tested in this study. Steam Explosion (SE) is widely used and has been extensively studied: fibres are split and plant tissue partially or completely destroyed, hemicellulose is degraded into monomers, organic acids and furfural and cellulose into monomers, organic acids and HMF that further degrades into furfural. HMF, furfural and phenols (from lignin) can inhibit microorganisms. To avoid the formation of inhibitors pretreatment with a commercially available enzyme that degrades cellulose and hemicellulose was tested as well.