Effect of feed slurry dilution and total solids on specific biogas production by anaerobic digestion in batch and semi-batch reactors

Gautham P. Jeppu, Jayalal Janardhan, Shivakumara Kaup, Anish Janardhanan, Shakeib Mohammed, Sharath Acharya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Biomass from various sources such as cow dung is a significant source of renewable energy (as biogas) in many regions globally, especially in India, Africa, Brazil, and China. However, biogas production from biomass such as cattle dung is a slow, inefficient biochemical process, and the specific biogas produced per kg of biomass is relatively small. The improvement of specific biogas production efficiency using various dilution ratios (and, hence, total solids [TS]) is investigated in this work. A wide range of feed dilution (FD) ratios of cow dung: water (CD: W) was tested in batch biogas digesters with total solids ranging from 1% to 12.5% and FD ratio ranging from 2:1 to 1:20. To further verify the results from the above batch experiments, semi-batch experiments representative of field-scale biodigesters were conducted. Semi-batch reactors have a steady-state process, unlike batch reactors, which have an unsteady state process. Our results suggested that specific biogas production (mL/g VS) increased continuously when the total solids decreased from 12.5% to 1% (or when dilution increased). Our experiments also indicate that the commonly used 1:1 feed dilution ratio (TS ~ 10% for cow dung) does not produce the maximum specific biogas production. The possible reason for this could be that anaerobic digestion at higher total solids is rate limited due to substrate inhibition, mass transfer limitations, and viscous mixing problems that arise at higher total solids concentration. Hence, a higher feed dilution ratio between 1:2 and 1:4 (TS between 4 and 6.7%) is recommended for a more efficient biomass utilization of cowdung. Empirical relationships were also developed for variation of specific biogas yield with the total solids content of the cow dung slurry. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-110
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Material Cycles and Waste Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Mechanics of Materials


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