Digestibility of Glycerol from Biodiesel Production

Winter, P., Lee, K., Pearce, P., and Farrow, J., Thames Water Utilities Research and Development


The purpose of this research was to investigate the digestibility of glycerol from biodiesel production in a conventional mesophillic anaerobic digester on a laboratory scale. Glycerol in varying proportions was added to sludge, to determine the optimum ratio for enhanced biogas production. Parameters that were monitored were dry solids and volatile solids loading, specific gas production, pH, gas compositions, and volatile solids destruction. Specific gas production could be enhanced by 30% by adding 1% glycerol and by adding 5% glycerol, specific gas production could be enhanced by 60%. An assessment on the potential economic benefit of co-digesting sludge and glycerol is also discussed in this paper.

Biodiesel by-product, biogas, glycerol, mesophillic anaerobic digestion, sludge

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