New study indicates that cold anaerobic digestion is viable

By Bioenergy Insight.

A new study has demonstrated the viability of using anaerobic digestion in a low-temperature (20°C) environment to convert solid food waste into renewable energy and organic fertiliser.

Researchers from Concordia’s Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering (BCEE) in collaboration with Bio-Terre Systems Inc. have been using ‘cold-loving’ psychrophilic bacteria to break down food waste in a specially designed bioreactor. The outcome was the production of a specific methane yield comparable to that of more energy-intensive anaerobic digestion processes.

The study, written by Rajinikanth Rajagopal, David Bellavance and Mohammad Saifur Rahaman, is published in the journal Process Safety and Environmental Protection.

"There is enormous potential here to reduce the amount of fuel that we use for solid waste treatment," Rahaman explained in a statement from Concordia University.

"Managing and treating food waste is a global challenge, particularly for cold countries like Canada where the temperature often falls below -20°C and energy demands related to heating are high."