Design of Anaerobic Digestion-Based Biogas and Electricity Generation from Organic Waste





20 min

read time




1.1 Background.

The urgency of finding sustainable energy solutions and adopting environmentally friendly waste management practices has intensified in light of pressing global challenges such as climate change and resource depletion. In this context, anaerobic digestion emerges as a promising solution capable of addressing these multifaceted concerns. At its core, anaerobic digestion represents a biological process that transforms organic waste into valuable resources, namely biogas and electricity. Unlike traditional waste disposal methods, anaerobic digestion operates in the absence of oxygen, facilitated by a diverse consortium of microorganisms. This process not only prevents the release of methane—a potent greenhouse gas—from decomposing organic waste in landfills but also harnesses the potential of these waste materials to produce biogas, primarily composed of methane and carbon dioxide.

The significance of anaerobic digestion extends beyond waste management to encompass sustainable energy production. By generating biogas, anaerobic digestion offers a renewable energy source that can be utilized for various applications, including electricity generation. Additionally, the residual digestate resulting from the digestion process serves as a nutrient-rich fertilizer, closing the loop on organic waste management and contributing to agricultural sustainability. This integration of waste management and renewable energy production underscores the multifaceted benefits of anaerobic digestion as a holistic and cost-effective approach to addressing environmental challenges.

Moreover, anaerobic digestion aligns with broader sustainability objectives by promoting the efficient utilization of resources and minimizing environmental impacts. By converting organic waste into valuable products such as biogas and fertilizer, anaerobic digestion not only reduces the burden on landfill infrastructure but also mitigates greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the decentralized nature of anaerobic digestion systems enables localized waste management and energy production, offering opportunities for community-level resilience and self-sufficiency. In essence, anaerobic digestion represents a promising pathway towards achieving sustainability goals, providing tangible benefits for both environmental conservation and energy security in a rapidly evolving global landscape.

1.2 Objectives

  • Investigating Feasibility and Efficacy: The study aims to comprehensively assess the potential of anaerobic digestion as a viable method for converting organic waste into biogas and electricity. This involves examining the entire process chain, from waste collection and preparation to biogas production and electricity generation. By analyzing the technical feasibility and overall efficiency of anaerobic digestion systems, the study seeks to provide insights into their practical applicability and effectiveness as sustainable waste management solutions.

  • Assessing Factors Influencing Methane Production: Central to the study is the evaluation of key factors that influence methane production rates within anaerobic digestion systems. This includes investigating the impact of varying feedstock compositions, temperature conditions, and process optimization techniques on methane yield. Through systematic experimentation and data analysis, the study aims to elucidate the complex interactions between these factors and their implications for optimizing biogas production efficiency.

  • Evaluating Performance of Integrated Systems: An integral aspect of the study involves assessing the performance of a novel anaerobic digestion system integrated with electricity generation through micro-turbine technology. This entails examining the operational dynamics of the integrated system, including gas flow, temperature profiles, and power generation efficiency. By conducting rigorous performance evaluations and comparative analyses, the study aims to elucidate the synergistic benefits of integrating anaerobic digestion with electricity generation and assess its potential as a sustainable energy solution.

  • Analyzing Environmental and Economic Implications: In addition to technical assessments, the study aims to evaluate the broader environmental and economic implications of anaerobic digestion-based biogas and electricity generation systems. This involves conducting life cycle assessments to quantify the environmental impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions reductions and resource conservation. Furthermore, economic analyses will be conducted to assess the cost-effectiveness and financial viability of implementing anaerobic digestion systems at different scales.

  • Providing Recommendations for Optimization and Scalability: Drawing from the findings of the study, comprehensive recommendations will be formulated to optimize the operation and scalability of anaerobic digestion systems. This includes identifying best practices for feedstock management, process optimization strategies, and technology integration approaches. By synthesizing empirical evidence and practical insights, the study aims to provide actionable recommendations that can facilitate the widespread adoption and scalability of anaerobic digestion-based waste management and renewable energy solutions.

2.1. Anaerobic Digestion Processes

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a complex biological process governed by several biochemical reactions. These reactions occur in sequential stages, each facilitated by specific groups of microorganisms. The overall process can be represented by the following general equation:

Organic matterBiogas (primarily CH4 and CO2)

a. Hydrolysis

Hydrolysis is the initial step in anaerobic digestion, where complex organic compounds are broken down into simpler soluble compounds. This process can be described by the following equation:

Complex organic compounds + Water → Simple soluble compounds

The rate of hydrolysis (Rhydrolysis) can be influenced by factors such as temperature, pH, and substrate concentration, and is often modeled using first-order kinetics:

Rhydrolysis =khydrolysis ×[S]


  • is the hydrolysis rate constant.
  • is the concentration of substrate.

b. Acidogenesis

During acidogenesis, the simpler soluble compounds produced during hydrolysis are further metabolized by acidogenic bacteria into volatile fatty acids (VFAs), alcohols, and other intermediate products. This process can be represented by the following equation:

Simple soluble compounds→Volatile fatty acids (VFAs)+Alcohols

The rate of acidogenesis (Racidogenesis) can also be modeled using first-order kinetics:


  • is the acidogenesis rate constant.
  • is the concentration of intermediate products.

c. Acetogenesis

Acetogenesis involves the conversion of VFAs and alcohols into acetate, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide by acetogenic bacteria. This process can be represented by the following equation:

The rate of acetogenesis () is influenced by the concentrations of VFAs, alcohols, and acetate, as well as environmental factors such as pH and temperature.

d. Methanogenesis

Methanogenesis, the final stage of anaerobic digestion, is catalyzed by methanogenic archaea. These microorganisms convert acetate, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide into methane and carbon dioxide. The process can be represented by the following equations:

For acetate:

Acetate → Methane + CO2

For hydrogen and carbon dioxide:

Hydrogen + CO2 → Methane + Water

The rate of methanogenesis (𝑅methanogenesis) is influenced by the concentrations of acetate, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide, as well as environmental conditions such as temperature and pH.

Anaerobic digestion processes can be classified based on reactor configurations, substrate types, and operational parameters. Common reactor configurations include batch, continuous stirred-tank reactors (CSTRs), and plug-flow reactors (PFRs), each offering unique advantages and challenges in terms of process stability, efficiency, and scalability. Furthermore, various substrate types such as agricultural residues, organic municipal solid waste, animal manure, and wastewater sludge can serve as feedstocks for anaerobic digestion, with each exhibiting distinct biochemical characteristics and methane production potentials.

2.2 Biogas and Electricity Generation

Biogas, a versatile renewable energy source derived from the anaerobic digestion of organic materials, holds significant potential for sustainable electricity generation. This section delves into the intricacies of biogas composition, its conversion into electricity, and the multifaceted benefits it offers across environmental, economic, and social dimensions.

Composition of Biogas: Biogas primarily consists of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2), with methane typically constituting 50-70% of the gas mixture. The exact composition of biogas can vary depending on factors such as feedstock characteristics, digester operation parameters, and microbial activity. In addition to methane and carbon dioxide, biogas may contain trace amounts of other gases, including hydrogen sulfide (H2S), ammonia (NH3), and water vapor (H2O). Understanding the composition of biogas is crucial for optimizing its utilization and assessing its energy potential.

Conversion of Biogas to Electricity: Electricity generation from biogas involves several conversion technologies, each with its unique advantages and applications. Internal combustion engines, commonly employed in biogas-fired power plants, combust biogas within cylinders to drive pistons, which in turn rotate a crankshaft connected to an electrical generator. Gas turbines represent another efficient means of biogas-to-electricity conversion, harnessing the high-temperature combustion of biogas to drive turbine blades and generate electricity. Fuel cells, an emerging technology in the field, facilitate direct electrochemical reactions between biogas and oxygen to produce electricity with high efficiency and minimal emissions. The selection of the appropriate technology depends on factors such as scale, efficiency, emissions requirements, and economic viability.

Environmental, Economic, and Social Benefits: The integration of biogas production with electricity generation offers a plethora of benefits across various domains. From an environmental perspective, anaerobic digestion mitigates methane emissions from organic waste decomposition, thereby curbing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change. Moreover, biogas-based electricity generation reduces reliance on fossil fuels, contributing to energy diversification, energy security, and the transition to a low-carbon economy. Economically, biogas projects create opportunities for revenue generation, job creation, and investment attraction, particularly in rural and agricultural sectors. Socially, biogas initiatives foster community resilience, improve waste management practices, and enhance access to clean energy, thereby promoting sustainable development and enhancing quality of life.

2.3. Previous Studies

A wealth of research has been conducted worldwide to investigate the feasibility, performance, and optimization of anaerobic digestion processes for biogas and electricity generation. Previous studies have explored various aspects of anaerobic digestion, including feedstock characterization, reactor design, process optimization, and techno-economic analysis. This chapter delves into these key areas, highlighting notable findings from previous research.

a. Feedstock Characterization

Feedstock characterization is crucial for determining the efficiency and yield of biogas production in anaerobic digestion processes. Numerous studies have examined the influence of feedstock composition on biogas production rates, methane yields, and process stability.

  1. Organic Carbon Content: Research indicates that feedstocks with high organic carbon content, such as agricultural residues and food waste, exhibit higher biogas production potentials compared to lignocellulosic materials or wastewater sludge. For example, agricultural residues typically have higher cellulose and hemicellulose content, which microorganisms can readily convert into volatile fatty acids (VFAs) and subsequently into biogas.
  2. Co-digestion: Studies have explored co-digestion as a strategy to enhance biogas yields and improve nutrient balance. Co-digestion involves combining multiple feedstocks to create a more balanced nutrient profile, which can enhance microbial activity and biogas production. For instance, the co-digestion of livestock manure with food waste has been shown to significantly increase methane production due to the complementary nature of the feedstocks in terms of carbon to nitrogen ratio (C/N ratio).
  3. Process Stability: The stability of the anaerobic digestion process is influenced by the type and composition of the feedstock. Feedstocks rich in easily degradable organic matter tend to produce biogas more rapidly, but they may also lead to process instability due to rapid acidification. Therefore, understanding the biochemical composition of feedstocks is essential for optimizing the digestion process and maintaining stable biogas production.

b. Reactor Design and Operation

The design and operation of anaerobic digesters are critical factors that influence the efficiency of biogas production. Research in this area has focused on reactor configurations, mixing strategies, hydraulic retention times (HRTs), and temperature control mechanisms.

  1. Reactor Types: Comparative studies have evaluated the effectiveness of different reactor types, such as Continuous Stirred Tank Reactors (CSTRs) and Plug Flow Reactors (PFRs). CSTRs are known for their good mixing and homogeneous conditions, which are favorable for microbial activity and biogas production. In contrast, PFRs maintain a gradient of substrate concentration along the reactor length, which can be advantageous for specific feedstocks and operational conditions.
  2. Mixing Strategies: Effective mixing in anaerobic digesters ensures uniform distribution of substrates and microorganisms, enhances mass transfer, and prevents the formation of inhibitory zones. Research has demonstrated that mechanical mixing, gas recirculation, and hydraulic mixing can significantly impact biogas production rates and process stability. For example, mechanical mixing can improve biogas yield by enhancing contact between the microbial community and the organic matter.
  3. Hydraulic Retention Time (HRT): The HRT, or the time the substrate remains in the digester, is a crucial parameter for optimizing biogas production. Studies have shown that shorter HRTs can increase biogas production rates but may lead to incomplete substrate degradation, while longer HRTs ensure complete degradation but may require larger reactor volumes.
  4. Temperature Control: Maintaining optimal temperature conditions is vital for microbial activity in anaerobic digesters. Mesophilic (20-40°C) and thermophilic (45-60°C) conditions are commonly employed, each with its advantages. Mesophilic conditions are more stable and energy-efficient, whereas thermophilic conditions can enhance the degradation of complex organic materials and pathogen reduction.

c. Techno-economic Analysis

Techno-economic analysis is essential for assessing the financial viability, cost-effectiveness, and investment returns associated with anaerobic digestion projects. Economic assessments have utilized various methodologies to quantify capital expenditures, operational expenses, revenue streams, and project payback periods.

  1. Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA): LCCA is used to evaluate the total cost of a project over its lifetime, including initial capital costs, operational and maintenance expenses, and decommissioning costs. This analysis helps in identifying the most cost-effective design and operational strategies for anaerobic digestion systems.
  2. Net Present Value (NPV): NPV calculations are employed to determine the profitability of anaerobic digestion projects by comparing the present value of expected cash inflows with the present value of cash outflows. Positive NPV values indicate profitable projects, guiding investment decisions and policy formulation.
  3. Sensitivity Analysis: Sensitivity analysis assesses the impact of varying key parameters, such as feedstock prices, energy tariffs, and discount rates, on the economic performance of anaerobic digestion projects. This analysis helps in identifying critical factors that influence project feasibility and informs risk management strategies.
  4. Revenue Streams: Economic studies have explored various revenue streams from anaerobic digestion, including the sale of biogas, electricity, and digestate (a nutrient-rich by-product used as fertilizer). By quantifying these revenue streams, researchers can provide a comprehensive assessment of the financial benefits of anaerobic digestion projects.
  5. Policy and Incentives: The role of government policies and incentives in promoting anaerobic digestion projects has also been a focus of economic studies. Feed-in tariffs, renewable energy certificates, and subsidies can significantly enhance the financial attractiveness of biogas projects. Studies have highlighted the importance of supportive policy frameworks in fostering the adoption and scalability of anaerobic digestion technologies.

Equations in Biogas Production and Economic Analysis

Biogas Production Rate: The biogas production rate can be described using the first-order kinetic model, which relates the rate of biogas production to the concentration of biodegradable organic matter:



  • is the concentration of biodegradable organic matter (kg/m³),
  • is time (days),
  • is the first-order rate constant (day⁻¹).

Integrating this equation over time gives the concentration of organic matter at any time tt:


where C0 is the initial concentration of biodegradable organic matter.

Methane Yield: The methane yield from a given feedstock can be calculated using the theoretical methane potential (TMP) and the biodegradability factor (Bd):



  • YCH4 is the methane yield (m³ CH₄/kg VS),
  • TMP is the theoretical methane potential (m³ CH₄/kg VS),
  • Bd is the biodegradability factor (dimensionless).

Economic Analysis – Net Present Value (NPV): The NPV of an anaerobic digestion project can be calculated using the following formula:

Sensitivity Analysis: In sensitivity analysis, the impact of changes in key parameters on the NPV can be assessed. For example, the sensitivity of NPV to changes in feedstock price (PfeedP_{feed}) can be calculated as:

Sensitivity of NPV to Pfeed = ΔNPV / ΔPfeed

This quantifies the change in NPV for a given change in feedstock price, helping to identify critical economic factors.

Previous studies have provided a comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing the efficiency and viability of anaerobic digestion for biogas and electricity production. The characterization of feedstocks, optimization of reactor design and operation, and thorough economic analyses are essential for the successful implementation and scaling of anaerobic digestion projects. Continued research and development in these areas will further enhance the sustainability and profitability of biogas technologies, contributing to a more resilient and low-carbon energy future.

This chapter outlines the materials and methods employed in the design, development, and simulation of the biogas production and electricity generation system. The key materials used in the construction of the system are presented first, followed by a detailed explanation of the sample collection and preparation process, the data simulation for methane production, and the methods used for electricity production simulation.

3.1 Materials

The development of the overall system involved various components, each serving a specific function in the process of biogas production and electricity generation. The key materials used include:

  • Shaft: A crucial component for the transmission of mechanical energy.
  • Electric Generator: Converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.
  • Compressor Cover: Encloses the compressor, ensuring efficient air compression.
  • Compressor: Increases the pressure of the air entering the combustion chamber.
  • Casing: Protects internal components and ensures structural integrity.
  • Electric Appliance: Used to demonstrate the electrical output of the system.
  • Turbine: Converts the energy from combustion gases into mechanical energy.
  • Trough: Holds the collected organic wastes for processing.
  • Overall System: An integrated setup combining all components.

3.2 Sample Collection and Preparation

The bio-wastes used in this study were sourced from various locations around Mbarara city. These wastes included:

  • Household Residue: Comprising 25% of the digester feedstock with a concentration of 0.65 kg/m³.
  • Dairy Manure: Contributing 14% with a concentration of 0.36 kg/m³.
  • Abattoir Wastes: Making up 34% with a concentration of 0.9 kg/m³.
  • Poultry Wastes: Accounting for 27% with a concentration of 0.7 kg/m³.

The collected bio-wastes were sorted to remove non-biodegradable materials. The sorted wastes were then fed into a digester connected to a gas tank. The gas tank, designed using SolidWorks, is linked to a microturbine system comprising a compressor, shaft, burner, and combustor. The turbine generates mechanical energy, which is converted into electrical energy by the generator.

3.3 Data Simulation for Methane Production

The simulation of methane production was conducted using MATLAB Simulink. The anaerobic digestion process was divided into four stages: hydrolysis, acidogenesis, acetogenesis, and methanogenesis.

  1. Hydrolysis Process: Converts complex insoluble biomass into soluble compounds.

  2. Acidogenesis Process: Transforms soluble compounds into short-chain fatty acids and alcohols.

  3. Acetogenesis Process: Produces acetic acid through hydrogenation.

  4. Methanogenesis Process: Converts organic acids into methane.

The overall methane production was then quantified using these models, with a summary shown in Figure 14. 

3.4 Data Simulation for Electricity Production

The methane produced was used to drive a turbine system, also modeled in MATLAB Simulink. The simulation involved the following steps:

  1. Air Compression: Atmospheric air is compressed in the compressor, increasing its temperature and velocity.
  2. Combustion: Methane is introduced into the combustor where it mixes with compressed air, forming a high-energy fuel mixture.
  3. Turbine Operation: The high-energy gases rotate the turbine shaft, producing torque.
  4. Electricity Generation: The rotating shaft of the turbine is connected to the generator, producing electricity according to Faraday’s Law.

3.5 Methods

The methods employed in this study involved detailed simulations and analyses of the biogas production process and the subsequent electricity generation. These included:

  • Simulation of Methane Production: Utilizing the models for hydrolysis, acidogenesis, acetogenesis, and methanogenesis in MATLAB Simulink, the methane production was simulated over time for various feedstocks and temperature conditions.

    Equations used in the simulation:

    Hydrolysis rate:

    dC/dt = −kC

    where is the concentration of organic matter, tt is time, and kk is the rate constant.

    Methane yield:


    where YCH4 is the methane yield, is the theoretical methane potential, and Bd is the biodegradability factor.

  • Simulation of Electricity Production: The methane was used to drive the turbine, and the resulting torque and electrical power were modeled. The key equations used include:

    Turbine power output:


    where Pturbine is the power output, τ is the torque, and ω is the angular velocity.

    Generator power output:


    where Pgen is the electrical power output and η is the efficiency of the generator.

The results from these simulations provided insights into the efficiency and performance of the biogas system, enabling optimization of the feedstock mix, reactor conditions, and overall system design.


This chapter presents and discusses the results obtained from the simulations of methane production and electricity generation. The discussion is structured to highlight the variations in methane production based on different feed types and temperatures and the analysis of torque and DC power output.

4.1 Methane Production Results

Methane production was monitored over a set period to evaluate the efficiency and output of different feedstock types and the effect of temperature variations.

4.1.1 Change of Methane Production with Input Feed Type

The simulation results illustrate how different types of bio-wastes influence methane production. Four types of feedstock were analyzed: household residue, dairy manure, abattoir wastes, and poultry wastes.

  1. Household Residue:

    • Initial Phase: Rapid increase in methane production, reaching peak levels in a relatively short period.
    • Stabilization Phase: Production stabilizes as the microbial community adapts and maximizes the utilization of the organic matter.
  2. Dairy Manure:

    • Initial Phase: Slower and lower methane production compared to other feedstocks.
    • Stabilization Phase: Methane production stabilizes at a lower level due to the complex composition of dairy manure, which includes elements like zinc and cellulose that interact negatively with the fermentation process.
  3. Abattoir Wastes:

    • Initial Phase: High methane production rate, indicating a rich organic content favorable for methanogenesis.
    • Stabilization Phase: Quick stabilization at a high methane production level due to the high availability of biodegradable material.
  4. Poultry Wastes:

    • Initial Phase: Slower start compared to household and abattoir wastes but eventually catches up.
    • Stabilization Phase: Methane production stabilizes after the microbial community adapts, indicating effective breakdown of the waste over time.

The differences in methane production can be attributed to the varying compositions of the feedstocks. The presence of readily biodegradable material in household and abattoir wastes leads to quicker and higher methane production, whereas dairy manure’s complex composition results in lower methane yields.

4.1.2 Change of Methane Production with Temperature

Temperature plays a crucial role in the efficiency of the anaerobic digestion process. The results of the simulation highlight the influence of different temperature settings on methane production:

  1. 20°C:

    • Initial Phase: Low methane production due to the dormancy of microorganisms at lower temperatures.
    • Stabilization Phase: Slow and limited methane production as microbial activity remains low.
  2. 30°C:

    • Initial Phase: Noticeable increase in methane production as microbial activity increases.
    • Stabilization Phase: Methane production stabilizes at a moderate level, suitable for efficient biogas production.
  3. 40°C:

    • Initial Phase: Rapid increase in methane production indicating optimal microbial activity.
    • Stabilization Phase: High methane production level, showcasing the effectiveness of this temperature range for anaerobic digestion.
  4. 50°C:

    • Initial Phase: High methane production rate, similar to 40°C.
  • Stabilization Phase: Although the production is high, it eventually stabilizes slightly lower than at 40°C due to the onset of thermal stress on some microorganisms.

The results indicate that the optimal temperature range for maximum methane production is between 30°C and 40°C. Temperatures below 20°C and above 50°C are less effective due to microbial inactivity and thermal stress, respectively.


4.2 Torque and DC Power Output

The generated methane was used to produce electricity via a turbine system, where the relationship between torque, shaft rotation, and DC power output was analyzed.

4.2.1 Plot of Torque Against Time

The simulation of the turbine system showed how the production of methane affects the torque output over time:

  1. Initial Phase: As methane production begins and increases, the torque output of the turbine also increases. This phase shows a gradual rise in torque corresponding to the initial increase in methane supply.

  2. Steady State Phase: When methane production stabilizes, the torque also stabilizes, indicating a balanced state of fuel supply and energy conversion.

  3. Peak Production Phase: During peak methane production, the torque output reaches its maximum. This phase highlights the turbine’s capacity to handle high levels of methane efficiently, converting it into mechanical energy.

The relationship between methane production and torque is direct; more methane leads to higher torque, facilitating the rotation of the turbine’s shaft.

4.2.2 Plot of DC Power Against Time

The conversion of mechanical energy from the turbine into electrical energy was also monitored, showing the relationship between torque and DC power output:

  1. Initial Phase: The DC power output starts to rise as the torque increases with the initial production of methane. This phase shows a lag, known as process lag, where the electrical output does not immediately reflect the mechanical input due to system inertia and resistance.

  2. Steady State Phase: As torque stabilizes, the DC power output also stabilizes. This indicates a consistent conversion efficiency from mechanical to electrical energy.

  3. Peak Production Phase: At peak torque, the DC power output reaches its maximum. This phase highlights the efficiency of the generator in converting mechanical energy derived from methane combustion into electrical energy.

The process lag observed is a common phenomenon in energy systems, where there is a delay between the mechanical input and the electrical output.

4.3 Discussion

The results from the methane production and electricity generation simulations provide valuable insights into the efficiency and practicality of using municipal bio-wastes for sustainable energy production.

Methane Production:

  • Feedstock Efficiency: Different feedstocks show varying efficiencies in methane production. Household residue and abattoir wastes are more effective compared to dairy manure and poultry wastes due to their higher content of readily biodegradable organic matter.
  • Temperature Impact: The optimal temperature for methane production lies between 30°C and 40°C. This range maximizes microbial activity, enhancing the anaerobic digestion process.

Electricity Generation:

  • Torque and Power Output: There is a clear correlation between the amount of methane produced and the torque generated by the turbine. Higher methane production results in higher torque, which in turn leads to higher DC power output.
  • System Efficiency: The turbine and generator system shows high efficiency in converting the energy from methane combustion into electrical power. The observed process lag is manageable and typical for such systems.

Overall, the study demonstrates that using municipal bio-wastes for biogas and electricity production is feasible and efficient. The optimal conditions for maximizing methane production and subsequent energy generation have been identified, providing a pathway for sustainable waste-to-energy conversion.

Diagrams and Figures

Below are the diagrams and figures used to illustrate the results discussed in this chapter:


Figure 5: Household residue shows a rapid increase in methane production, stabilizing quickly.


Figure 6: Dairy manure has a slower and lower methane production rate due to its complex composition.


Figure 7: Abattoir waste demonstrates high methane production, stabilizing at a high level.


Figure 8: Poultry waste shows a slower start but eventually stabilizes at a significant production level.


Figure 9: Methane production varies with temperature, peaking between 30°C and 40°C.


Figure 10: Torque output increases with methane production, stabilizing as production stabilizes.


Figure 11: DC power output mirrors the torque output, showing a process lag typical of such systems.


The effective execution of an anaerobic digestion system for methane and electricity production validates its potential as a sustainable method for transforming organic waste into valuable resources. By optimizing feedstock types and operating temperatures, it is possible to maximize methane production and, consequently, electricity generation. The results underscore the technical proficiency and economic viability of such systems, paving the way for their widespread adoption and scalability, contributing significantly to sustainable development and global energy security.


5.1 Conclusion

The research and development of an anaerobic digestion system to convert municipal bio-wastes into biogas and electricity have demonstrated significant potential for addressing environmental and energy challenges. The system, which integrates solid waste management with energy production, showcases the following key conclusions:

  1. Efficiency of Different Feedstocks:

    • Household Residue and Abattoir Wastes: These feedstocks showed the highest efficiency in methane production due to their high content of readily biodegradable organic matter. The rapid and substantial methane generation from these sources highlights their potential as primary feedstocks for biogas production.
    • Poultry Waste: Although it takes longer to reach peak methane production, poultry waste eventually stabilizes at a significant production level. This delay is attributed to the time required for microbial communities to adapt and optimize the digestion process.
    • Dairy Manure: This feedstock showed lower methane production compared to others, likely due to its complex composition, including zinc, cellulose, and other compounds that interact with the carbon content and hinder the formation of carboxylic acids.
  2. Optimal Temperature Range:

    • The optimal temperature for methane production was found to be between 30°C and 40°C. Within this range, microbial activity is maximized, leading to higher and more efficient methane production. Temperatures outside this range result in either reduced microbial activity or thermal stress on the microorganisms, both of which diminish methane output.
  3. Energy Conversion Efficiency:

    • The turbine system efficiently converts the mechanical energy derived from methane combustion into electrical energy. The relationship between methane production, torque output, and DC power output is direct, with more methane resulting in higher torque and consequently more electrical power.
    • The observed process lag between mechanical input and electrical output is typical for such systems and can be managed effectively.
  4. Environmental and Economic Viability:

    • The anaerobic digestion system not only provides a sustainable method for waste management but also generates valuable resources like biogas and electricity. This dual benefit helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels, contributing significantly to environmental sustainability.
    • The project demonstrates the technical feasibility and economic viability of scaling up such systems, paving the way for broader adoption in urban and rural settings alike.

The successful implementation of this anaerobic digestion system underscores its potential to transform organic waste into a renewable energy source, addressing waste management challenges and promoting a greener, more sustainable future.

5.2 Recommendations

To optimize the efficacy and transformative potential of anaerobic digestion systems, several recommendations are proposed:

  1. Continuous Monitoring and Optimization:

    • Implement robust monitoring systems to track biogas production and quality continuously. Regularly analyze data to identify areas for improvement and optimize operational parameters such as temperature, pH, and feedstock composition.
  2. Diversification of Feedstocks:

    • Encourage the use of a diverse range of organic wastes to enhance the resilience and efficiency of the digestion system. Combining different types of feedstocks can lead to a more balanced nutrient profile, improving microbial activity and biogas yield.
  3. Community Engagement:

    • Proactively engage with local communities to raise awareness and support for anaerobic digestion initiatives. Educating the public about the benefits of such systems can foster acceptance and participation in sustainable waste management practices.
    • Develop partnerships with local governments, businesses, and non-profit organizations to promote the adoption of anaerobic digestion technologies and integrate them into existing waste management frameworks.
  4. Supportive Policies and Incentives:

    • Advocate for regulatory frameworks that incentivize the implementation of anaerobic digestion systems. Policies that provide financial incentives, such as subsidies or tax credits, can encourage investment and innovation in this sector.
    • Work with policymakers to develop standards and guidelines that ensure the safe and efficient operation of anaerobic digestion facilities.
  5. Research and Development:

    • Invest in research and development to explore new technologies and methodologies that can enhance the efficiency and scalability of anaerobic digestion systems. This includes investigating advanced pre-treatment techniques, novel microbial consortia, and innovative reactor designs.
    • Promote collaborative research initiatives that bring together academic institutions, industry experts, and government agencies to address technical challenges and unlock new efficiencies.
  6. Education and Training:

    • Develop education and training programs to build a skilled workforce capable of operating and maintaining anaerobic digestion systems. This includes offering technical training for operators, engineers, and technicians, as well as educational programs for students and professionals interested in renewable energy and waste management.
    • Encourage knowledge sharing and capacity building through workshops, seminars, and conferences focused on anaerobic digestion technologies and best practices.

About the project authors.

The study research was done and approved by Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Applied Science and Technology. With help from Mr. Amos Senyonjo Msc.