Anaerobic bioconversion of the organic fraction from the fruit processing industry

Griessel, Wilmare (2002-12)

Thesis (MSc Food Sc )--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South Africa is a developing country that relies heavily on its agricultural sector for economical welfare especially in the Western Cape Province. However, development gives rise to new technologies, new products, economical stability and unfortunately also to the production of larger volumes of liquid and solid waste. Anaerobic composting is becoming a very attractive treatment option for solid waste disposal because of its unique operational advantages and two valueadded by-products, compost and biogas. Over the last decade progress has been made in anaerobic digestion of solid wastes, but no literature could be found on the anaerobic composting of apple and peach pomace. The main objective of this study was to develop a method to anaerobically compost apple and peach pomace. In the first phase important operational parameters were identified and a method was developed to optimise the parameters. In the second phase of the study, the scaling-up and optimisation of the process were the major objectives. During the first phase of this research 2 L modified glass containers were used as composting units. The most important operational parameters (leachate pH, inoculum source and size, and initial moisture levels) were identified. Anaerobic compost from previous tests, brewery granules and anaerobic sludge were also used as inocula and evaluated for the best source of microbes. After optimising all the identified parameters, good results were obtained, which included higher biogas production, good volume reductions, less bad aromas and a compost product with a neutral pH. After developing the 2 L laboratory-scale method to compost the apple pomace anaerobically, the next step was to ascertain if the method would work if larger volumes of solid fruit waste were composted. A special 20 L composting unit made of PVC was designed to suit the operational requirements of the anaerobic composting process. It was also decided to mix apple pomace and peach pulp together and to use this solid waste source as part of the composting substrate. Different inocula, including cattle manure, anaerobic sludge, brewery granules and anaerobic compost produced in the previous tests, were used. Although good results were obtained with the anaerobic compost and cattle manure as inoculum, the aim was also to decrease the composting period by shortening the pH stabilisation period. To achieve this, it was decided to add NaHC03 to the substrate to be composted to facilitate a faster pH stabilisation. The composting period was subsequently shortened to 25 days with satisfactory results, which included a volume reduction, biogas production and faster pH stabilisation. An upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) bioreactor was also used to assist the composting process by facilitating the removal of the VFA's present in the composting leachate. This proved to be a valuable addition to the composting process as the UASB bioreactor also provided the composting units with a 'moisturising liquid', which was 'enriched' with a consortium of active anaerobic bacteria when the effluent from the bioreactor was re-added to the composting units. With all the operational parameters in place, good results were obtained and these included a volume reduction of 60% (m/m), a good biogas production, a composting period of only 25 days, a compost that was free of bad aromas, a final compost pH of > 6.5, final leachate COD values of less than 3 000 rnq.l", and a final leachate VFA's concentration of between 0 and 250 rnq.l". If in future research further scaling-up is to be considered, it is recommended that the composting unit be coupled directly to the UASB bioreactor, thus making the process continuous and more practical to operate. If the operational period of the anaerobic composting set-up could be further shortened and the inoculum adapted so that the process could be used for the treatment of other difficult types of solid wastes, it would probably be advantageous for the fruit processing industry to use this method as an environmental control technology.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Suid-Afrika is 'n ontwikkelende land wat baie afhanklik is van die sukses van die landbousektor vir ekonomiese welstand, veral in die Wes Kaap Provinsie. Ontwikkeling gaan gepaard met nuwe tegnologie, nuwe produkte, ekonomiese stabiliteit en daarmee saam gaan die produksie van groter volumes vlooiebare en soliede afvalprodukte. Anaërobiese kompostering is tans besig om opgang te maak as en doeltreffende behandelingstegnologie vir vaste afvalstowwe. Tydens die laaste dekade is baie vooruitgang gemaak in die veld van anaërobiese vertering asook kompostering van afvalmateriaal met en hoë vaste stof inhoud. Anaërobiese kompostering van appel- en perskepulp, afkomstig van die versappingsindustrie, het tot dusver min aandag geniet. Die hoofdoel van hierdie navorsing was om 'n anaërobiese komposterings metode te ontwikkel vir die beheer van vrugte afval om sodoende die basis neer te lê vir en nuwe tegnologie wat baie voordele (biogas en kompos) inhou. In die eerste fase is die belangrikste operationele parameters geïdentifiseer om sodoende beter beheer oor die anaërobiese proses uit te oefen. In die tweede fase is die anaërobiese proses wat gedurende die eerste fase ontwikkel is, opgeskaal om optimum resultate te verkry. Gedurende die eerste fase van hierdie verhandeling was 2 L gemodifiseerde glas houers gebruik as komposteringseenhede. Die belangrikste operasionele parameters (pH beheer, inokulasie grootte, vloeistofvlakke en hoeveelheid vog asook vlugtige vetsuur produksie en verwydering) vir die beheer van die anaërobiese komposteringsproses was geïdentifiseer en gebruik as uitgangspunt om 'n anaërobiese komposteringsmetode te ontwikkel. Anaërobiese slyk, brouery granules en anaërobiese kompos van vorige eksperimente was as inokula gebruik. Gedurende hierdie studies was goeie resultate verkry en het 'n hoë biogas produksie, goeie volume reduksies, vermindering van slegte aromas en kompos met 'n neutrale pH ingesluit. . Nadat hierdie goeie resultate met die 2 L laboratorium-skaal metode verkry was, was groter volumes vaste vrugte afval gebruik om te bepaal of dieselfde metode toegepas kan word op en groter skaal. Spesiale 20 L komposteringseenhede was ontwerp om aan die operasionele vereistes van 'n anaërobiese proses te voldoen. Dit was ook besluit om appel pulp met perske pulp te meng en te gebruik as deel van die komposteringssubstraat. Verskeie inokula was weereens gebruik en het die volgende ingesluit: vars beesmis, anaërobiese slyk, brouery granules en anaërobiese kompos van vorige eksperimente. Hoewel baie goeie resultate met vars beesmis en anaërobiese kompos as inokula verkry was, was 'n volgende doel gewees om die kompoterings tydperk te verkort deur die pH vinniger te stabiliseer. Daar was besluit om NaHC03 by die komposteringssubstraat te voeg en so 'n vinniger pH stabilisasie te fasiliteer. 'n UASB ('upflow anaerobic sludge blanket') bioreaktor was ook gebruik om die komposteringsproses aan te help deur die vlugtige vetsure wat in die kompostloog teenwoordig was, te verwyder. Die insluiting van die bioreaktor in die anaërobiese komposteringsproses het bygedra tot die sukses van die proses deurdat die uitvloeisel as 'n vogmiddel vir die komposteringseenhede gebruik was en 'n konsortium van aktiewe anaërobiese bakterieë bevat het. Nadat al die operationele parameters in plek was, was goeie resultate bereik en het die volgende ingesluit: 'n volume reduksie van 60% (m/m), goeie biogas produksie, 'n komposteringstyd van 25 dae, 'n kompos wat vry was van slegste aromas, 'n finale kompos pH van >6.5, finale loog CSB van <3 000 rnq.l' en 'n finale vetsuur konsentrasie van tussen 0 en 250 mq.l'. lndien verdere navorsing onderneem word, word dit aanbeveel dat die UASB bioreaktor direk aan die komposteringseenheid gekoppel word om sodoende die proses meer aaneenlopend en die proses prakties makliker uitvoerbaar te maak. Indien die operationele tydperk nog korter gemaak kan word en die inokulum aanpasbaar kan wees om moeilik verteerbare afvalprodukte te akkomodeer, sal hierdie tegnologie baie voordelig wees as 'n metode om omgewingsbesoedeling te beheer

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