This paper addresses the anaerobic digestion (AD) of seven biomass crops: three multi-annual species, Arundo donax (Arundo), Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass) and Sorghum Silk; three sorghum hybrids (B133, Sucros 506 and Trudan Headless); one Maize hybrid as reference crop for AD. Dry biomass yield (DBY) was assessed in a field plot experiment in Northern Italy, and biomass samples were subjected to chemical analysis (volatile solids (VS), raw proteins and lipids, soluble sugars, starch, structural carbohydrates and lignin). Thereafter, an AD assay was carried out in batch mode with 4 g VS l−1 at 35 °C for 58 days, during which time potential methane yield (ml CH4 g−1 VS) was determined. Gross energy yield (GE = DBY × VS × potential CH4 yield × methane lower heating value) and cumulative energy demand (CED) led to net energy yield (NE = GE − CED) and energy efficiency (EE = GE/CED) as indicators of crop suitability for AD. Arundo, B 133 and Sucros 506 achieved ±10% DBY compared to Maize (this latter, 27.8 Mg ha−1). Conversely, Maize prevailed in terms of potential methane yield (316 ml CH4 g−1 VS). Among the six alternative crops, Arundo and Switchgrass exhibited the lowest values (average, 216 ml CH4 g−1 VS), associated with low kinetics of degradation. This is consistent with the two crops’ characteristics: low easily degradable fractions as lipids, soluble sugars and starch; high structural carbohydrates and lignin. Maize achieved a top level also in GE (286 GJ ha−1, corresponding to ca. 8400 Nm3 CH4 ha−1) and NE (248 GJ ha−1). B 133 and Sucros 506 were undifferentiated from Maize in NE (their average, 215 GJ ha−1), whereas Trudan Headless and the three multi-annual species were out-performed (average NE, 149 GJ ha−1). Conversely, Maize ranked worst in EE (7.4 GJ GJ−1) while sorghumB 133 and Arundo attained top levels (average, 12.1 GJ GJ−1), thanks to a good GE associated with a modest CED in B 133; to a very low CED in Arundo. It is concluded that alternative crops to maize deserve attention in view of a low need of external inputs but necessitate improvements in biodegradability (harvest stage and biomass pre-treatments) to bridge the gap in the amount of net energy produced.

Anaerobic digestion of annual and multi-annual biomass crops

BARBANTI, LORENZO;DI GIROLAMO, GIUSEPPE;GRIGATTI, MARCO;BERTIN, LORENZO;CIAVATTA, CLAUDIO
2014

Abstract

This paper addresses the anaerobic digestion (AD) of seven biomass crops: three multi-annual species, Arundo donax (Arundo), Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass) and Sorghum Silk; three sorghum hybrids (B133, Sucros 506 and Trudan Headless); one Maize hybrid as reference crop for AD. Dry biomass yield (DBY) was assessed in a field plot experiment in Northern Italy, and biomass samples were subjected to chemical analysis (volatile solids (VS), raw proteins and lipids, soluble sugars, starch, structural carbohydrates and lignin). Thereafter, an AD assay was carried out in batch mode with 4 g VS l−1 at 35 °C for 58 days, during which time potential methane yield (ml CH4 g−1 VS) was determined. Gross energy yield (GE = DBY × VS × potential CH4 yield × methane lower heating value) and cumulative energy demand (CED) led to net energy yield (NE = GE − CED) and energy efficiency (EE = GE/CED) as indicators of crop suitability for AD. Arundo, B 133 and Sucros 506 achieved ±10% DBY compared to Maize (this latter, 27.8 Mg ha−1). Conversely, Maize prevailed in terms of potential methane yield (316 ml CH4 g−1 VS). Among the six alternative crops, Arundo and Switchgrass exhibited the lowest values (average, 216 ml CH4 g−1 VS), associated with low kinetics of degradation. This is consistent with the two crops’ characteristics: low easily degradable fractions as lipids, soluble sugars and starch; high structural carbohydrates and lignin. Maize achieved a top level also in GE (286 GJ ha−1, corresponding to ca. 8400 Nm3 CH4 ha−1) and NE (248 GJ ha−1). B 133 and Sucros 506 were undifferentiated from Maize in NE (their average, 215 GJ ha−1), whereas Trudan Headless and the three multi-annual species were out-performed (average NE, 149 GJ ha−1). Conversely, Maize ranked worst in EE (7.4 GJ GJ−1) while sorghumB 133 and Arundo attained top levels (average, 12.1 GJ GJ−1), thanks to a good GE associated with a modest CED in B 133; to a very low CED in Arundo. It is concluded that alternative crops to maize deserve attention in view of a low need of external inputs but necessitate improvements in biodegradability (harvest stage and biomass pre-treatments) to bridge the gap in the amount of net energy produced.
Lorenzo Barbanti; Giuseppe Di Girolamo; Marco Grigatti; Lorenzo Bertin;Claudio Ciavatta
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/358716
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