Enhancement of anaerobic methanogenesis at a short hydraulic retention time via bioelectrochemical enrichment of hydrogenotrophic methanogens

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Journal Article
Bioresource Technology, 2016, 218 pp. 505 - 511
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© 2016 Elsevier Ltd Anaerobic digestion (AD) is an important energy strategy for converting organic waste to CH4. A major factor limiting the practical applicability of AD is the relatively long hydraulic retention time (HRT) which declines the treatment efficiency of digesters. A coupling process of anaerobic digestion and ‘electromethanogenesis’ was proposed to enhance anaerobic digestion at a short HRT in this study. Microorganisms analysis indicated that the electric-biological reactor enriched hydrogenotrophic methanogens in both cathodic biofilm and suspended sludge, helping achieve the high organic removal (71.0% vs 42.3% [control reactor]) and CH4 production (248.5 mL/h vs 51.3 mL/h), while the additional electric input was only accounted for 25.6% of the energy income from the increased CH4 production. This study demonstrated that a bioelectrochemical enhanced anaerobic reactor could improve the CH4 production and organic removal at a short HRT, providing an economically feasible scheme to treat wastewater.
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