Hydrolytic Pretreatment of Macauba Shells for Anaerobic Digestion

Author: Jordan Myers

Advisor: Michael Timko

Category: Undergraduate

This experiment examined the effect of sub-critical water hydrolysis as a pretreatment for anaerobic digestion of macauba nut shells for production of renewable methane. Renewable natural gas was made from macauba nut shells with and without pretreatment using subcritical water hydrolysis as the pretreatment. The control reactor had an average solid content of 16.9%, an accumulated volume of biogas of 17.6 liters and an average methane composition of 38%. The pretreatment reactor had an average solids content of 4.4%, an accumulated volume of 22.5 liters and an average methane composition of 67%. The accumulated energy of the pretreated reactor was 97.9 MJ/kg and the control reactor was 4.69 MJ/kg. This shows that the pretreated reactor produced almost 21 times more energy per kilogram of macauba shells used to feed and start up the digestor, meaning that this pretreatment performed far better than the control.

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