Biomethane enhancement via plastic carriers in anaerobic co-digestion of agricultural wastes

Shah Faisal, El Sayed Salama*, Sedky H.A. Hassan, Byong Hun Jeon, Xiangkai Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Two types of plastic carriers low-density polyethylene (LDPET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPET) were used as a support material for biofilm formation during anaerobic co-digestion of agricultural wastes. LDPET and HDPET were added separately to different reactors containing binary substrates: corn straw and cauliflower leaves (G 1), corn straw and cow dung (G 2), while ternary substrates corn straw, cauliflower leaves, and cow dung were used in G 3. Reactors containing either HDPET or LDPET carriers supported the enhancement of biogas and biomethane. Maximum daily biomethane (333.43 and 368.35 mL/day) was achieved after HDPET addition to G1 and G2 at day 10 and 12, respectively. The accumulative biomethane were significantly enhanced (p < 0.05) by 17.14% and 23.52%, compared with reactors having LDPET carriers 11.89% and 5.53%, respectively. HDPET addition to ternary substrates (G 3) resulted in highest biomethane production (31.61%) and total solids (31.70%) and volatile solid (61.63%) removal. The major short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) detected in all groups were acetic acid (4–5 g/L) and propionic acid (2–3 g/L), and their conversion to biomethane was the highest with HDPET. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis of the supporting materials showed that the plastic carriers support the biofilm formation especially in the case of HDPET. This study demonstrated that addition of cost-effective plastic carrier (HDPET) to anaerobic digestion system supported the formation of biofilm, leading to significantly increase in substrate utilization and biomethane production. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2553-2565
Number of pages13
JournalBiomass Conversion and Biorefinery
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - May 28 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Agricultural wastes
  • Anaerobic co-digestion
  • Biomethane
  • High-density polyethylene
  • Low-density polyethylene
  • Plastic carriers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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