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Effect of Ultrasonic Pretreatment on Methane Production Potential from Corn Ethanol Coproducts

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 53(3): 883-890. (doi: 10.13031/2013.30071) @2010
Authors:   W. Wu-Haan, R. T. Burns, L. B. Moody, C. J. Hearn, and D. Grewell
Keywords:   Biochemical methane potential (BMP), Corn-ethanol coproducts, Dry distillers grains with solubles (DDGS), Methane, Ultrasonic

This article addresses the biochemical methane potential (BMP) production from anaerobic digestion of corn-ethanol coproducts including dried distiller grain with solubles (DDGS), distiller's wet grains (DWG), thin stillage, and condensed distiller's solubles (CDS) as well as evaluating the effects of ultrasonic pretreatment on methane production from these feedstocks. Ultrasonic pretreatment was applied with three amplitude settings of 33% (52.8 mpp), 66% (105.6 mpp), and 100% (160 mpp) as well as five time settings (10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 s) to each of the four coproducts prior to conducting benchtop BMP trials. Ultrasonic pretreatment reduced mean particle size of DDGS and DWG by 45% and 43%, respectively. Without ultrasound pretreatment, CDS had the highest methane production potential (407 mL g-1 VS added) compared to the other coproducts. Ultrasonic pretreatment of DWG co-products (DDGS and DWG) resulted in greater increases in methane production than on liquid coproducts (CDS and thin stillage). Methane yields were increased by 25% and 12% for the ultrasound pretreated DDGS and DWG, respectively, compared with untreated samples. An energy balance for the DWG, thin stillage, and CDS coproducts indicated that ultrasonic pretreatment required more energy than was generated by the process in terms of additional biogas production. However, an energy balance for ultrasonic pretreatment of DDGS provided 70% more energy than was required to operate the ultrasonic unit.

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