Stimulatory effects of biochar addition on dry anaerobic co-digestion of pig manure and food waste under mesophilic conditions

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Environmental Science and Pollution Research


The stimulatory effect of biochar addition on dry anaerobic digestion (AD) has been rarely investigated. In this study, the effects of commonly used biochars (bamboo, rice husk, and pecan shell) on dry co-AD were investigated using mesophilic batch digesters fed with pig manure and food waste as substrates. The results show that the specific methane yield was mildly elevated with the addition of biochars by 7.9%, 9.4%, and 12.0% for bamboo, rice husk, and pecan shell-derived biochar additions, respectively. Biochar did facilitate the degradation of poorly biodegradable organics. In comparison, there was no significant effect on the peak methane production rate by the supplementation of the selected biochars. Among the three mechanisms of enhancing methanogenesis by biochar (buffering, providing supporting surface, and enhancing electron transfer), the first two mechanisms did not function significantly in dry co-AD, while the third mechanism (i.e., enhancing electron transfer) might play an important part in dry AD process. It is recommended that the utilization of biochar for the enhancement of biomethanation in dry AD should be more focused on mono digestion in future studies.

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