Material characterization and conditioning of cattle feedlot manure as feedstock for dry batch anaerobic digestion
The focus of the study was to determine the suitability of cattle feedlot manure originating from clay-pack feedlots as a possible feedstock material for dry batch anaerobic digestion. Oedometer tests were carried out that measure the permeability and compressibility of the feedstock under practical conditions experienced in large-scale dry batch anaerobic digestion plants. Material characterization tests showed that feedlot manure was impermeable under compression and therefore unsuitable for percolation. Mixtures of feedlot manure, wood chips (3 %ww) and wheat straw (6 %ww) showed superior permeability under compression compared to feedlot manure alone with an 56% increased permeability. Further practical tests showed that dry digestion of feedlot manure mixtures led to methane yields of 99 mL/g VS which equals 86% of the material biochemical methane potential (BMP). High percolation rate and low inoculum recycle led to the highest specific methane yield (SMY) and digester productivity with implications on process design to reduce capital investment costs.
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