This practical manual provides basic theoretical knowledge about fermentative processes, biochemical laboratory techniques, and an arsenal of practical tricks, recipes, do’s, and don’ts for the biogas plant manager. It explains why some popular tests and techniques are unreliable, how to optimize the feedstock’s cost and the energy self-consumption of the digester, and how to analyze experimental error propagation and judge whether a marketing claim or a test result from the literature is correct. All examples are taken from the author’s experience as consultant in managing biogas plants in Italy and Spain. It features a glossary of technical jargon and useful reference tables and formulae. By following the procedures described in this manual, anybody can learn in short time how to become a "bacteria farmer."
Table of Contents
About the Author
1. Relevant Aspects for Optimizing the AD Process
2. Overview of the Laboratory Methods for the Analysis of Fermentative Processes
3. How to Perform Tests under Optimum Conditions
4. Application of Laboratory Experimental Results to the Management of the Biogas Plant
5. Some Simple Tricks to Improve the Laboratory’s Operativity
6. Critical Review of the Scientific Literature from the Biogas Plant Manager’s Perspective
7. Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations
8. Useful Tables for Quick Reference
Mario A. Rosato is an electrical, electronic, and environmental engineer, as well as a scientific journalist. He built his first home-sized digester in Argentina when he was aged 16. The son of a university professor and researcher, he learnt to employ sophisticated instruments in his favorite playground: his father’s lab. At the age of 25 he obtained a scholarship to specialize in renewable energies in Italy. At 28 he chose to leave the academic research world and devoted himself to the development of industrial solutions. In 1990 he settled in Italy and in 2000 he moved to Spain. In 2004 he became partner and scientific director of Bioenergia Aragonesa SL. In 2006 he patented the AFADS system, a multitrophic bioreactor for wastewater treatment. In 2009 he founded Sustainable Technologies SL in Barcelona. From 2010 he expanded his company’s activity to Italy, where he became professor at several private professional institutes. Since then he has trained more than 100 biogas plant managers in Italy and Spain. He installed a laboratory for applied research and routine anaerobic digestion tests in the Technologic Park of Pordenone in 2011. The same year he won The Economist’s award for the best entrepreneurial idea to tackle global climate change, based on the production of biohydrogen and the cultivation of bamboo in a circular economy cycle. Some months later, he received the Green Vision Award from Modus Vivendi magazine in Rome. His industrial solutions, based on original applied research, place him 4th in the worldwide Top Solvers list on Innocentive.com. In 2012, during the research project H2Ocean, funded by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Program, he develops a novel type of digester for marine biomass, specially conceived for offshore operation. In 2013 he won two international awards for the conceptual design of a domestic garbage digester, meant for low-income Indian families. Since 2014 he has been in charge of the column on bioenergy for agronotizie.it, a specialized e-zine for agronomists and farming professionals. In 2015 he was a member of the technical commission in charge of redacting the Italian norm on the biochemical methane potential (BMP) test protocol, and his contribution focused on the error propagation analysis and improving both accuracy and precision.
Featured Author Profiles
"… a practical guide that can be useful for day-to-day operation of biogas plants, which can be potentially useful to plant operators, trainers and process engineers."
—Joseph Akunna, Abertay University, Dundee, Scotland
"The author clearly has vast experience in biogas process monitoring, measurement and control as well as a solid mathematical basis. He is therefore well placed to give an overview and good advice on measuring methods, e.g. basic parameters, necessary size of test reactors, avoiding measurement errors."
—Joachim Nöller, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany