The potential for improving bioenergy yields from duckweed, a fast-growing, simple, floating aquatic plant, was evaluated by subjecting the dried biomass directly to anaerobic digestion, or sequentially to ethanol fermentation and then anaerobic digestion, after evaporating ethanol from the fermentation broth. Bioethanol yields of 0.41 ± 0.03 g/g and 0.50 ± 0.01 g/g (glucose) were achieved for duckweed harvested from the Penn State Living-Filter (Lemna obscura) and Eco-Machine™ (Lemna minor/japonica and Wolffia columbiana), respectively. The highest biomethane yield, 390 ± 0.1 ml CH4/g volatile solids added, was achieved in a reactor containing fermented duckweed from the Living-Filter at a substrate-to-inoculum (S/I) ratio (i.e., duckweed to microorganism ratio) of 1.0. This value was 51.2% higher than the biomethane yield of a replicate reactor with raw (non-fermented) duckweed. The combined bioethanol-biomethane process yielded 70.4% more bioenergy from duckweed, than if anaerobic digestion had been run alone.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Waste Management and Disposal