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New project to optimise AD

VTT Technological Research Centre of Finland is organising a new European project to study the anaerobic digestion (AD) of organic waste.

The AD process can be optimised to produce either biogas or volatile fatty acids that are even more valuable products than biogas. The produced volatile fatty acids can be converted further to raw materials with which it is possible to produce oil-replacing bio-based products, such as bioplastics.

During the AD process, which contains four main steps, the organic matter is degraded by bacteria to biogas in the absence of oxygen. Controlling the digestion process is one of the most important ways of making the biogas production process more efficient.

A prototype for process monitoring and controlling system will be developed during the OPTI-VFA project. This system enables more efficient control of both volatile fatty acids and biogas production. It also improves the profitability, efficiency and reliability of the process.

Anaerobic digestion of biowaste has many positive environmental impacts; for one, waste has less odour problems after digestion, in addition to reduced acidity and reduced pathogen and pesticides content. Fossil fuels can be compensated by biogas and thus the amount of emissions can be decreased. Also the methane emissions will be decreased, when the methane produced as a disintegration product during AD process will be utilised as energy in a closed process.

The two-year OPTI-VFA project will cost € 1.15 million, of which the share of VTT is approximately one third. VTT is responsible for the planning, building and calibration of the prototype for monitoring and controlling system.
The project group consists of nine partners: Attero (the Netherlands), Optomeasures (France), Rikola (Finland), MTT Multantiv (Finland), MSI (Spain), Maris Projects (the Netherlands), VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (Finland), TUDelft (the Netherlands) and CEIT (Spain).