Influence of enzyme additives on the rheological properties of digester slurry and on biomethane yield
The use of enzyme additives in anaerobic digestion facilities has increased in recent years. According to the manufacturers, these additives should increase or accelerate the biogas yield and reduce the viscosity of the digester slurry. Such effects were confirmed under laboratory conditions. However, it has not yet been possible to quantify these effects in practice, partly because valid measurements on large-scale plants are expensive and challenging. In this research, a new enzyme product was tested under full-scale conditions. Two digesters were operated at identic process parameters—one digester was treated with an enzyme additive and a second digester was used as reference. A pipe viscometer was designed, constructed and calibrated and the rheological properties of the digester slurry were measured. Non-Newtonian flow behavior was modelled by using the Ostwald–de Baer law. Additionally, the specific biomethane yield of the feedstock was monitored to assess the influence of the enzyme additive on the substrate degradation efficiency. The viscosity measurements revealed a clear effect of the added enzyme product. The consistency factor K was significantly reduced after the enzyme application. There was no observable effect of enzyme application on the substrate degradation efficiency or specific biomethane yield.