THYME: Improving Efficiency of Anaerobic Digestion by further Understanding Microbial Processes

Project: Research

Project Details


Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a complex biological process whereby organic waste is broken down to produce fuels such as biogas. AD includes: hydrolysis-acidogenesis, acetogenesis and methanogenesis. The process of Hydrolysis-acidogenesis and acetogenesis are carried out by bacteria while methanogenic archaea complete methane production.
Northumbrian Water (NW), supplies 2.7 million customers in the North East with water and sewage services. NW have two Advanced AD sites utilising a Thermal Hydrolysis Process occurring prior to digestion reducing the number of stages. The digesters process 100% of NW’s waste sludge remaining after sewage treatment, destroying 50% of the solids and producing biogas which is used to generate heat for the process and electricity for the treatment sites.
Teesside and York Universities will investigate the microbiology occurring within the ADs at the two NW sites. We aim to understand more about the microbial processes occurring allowing recommendations for optimisation. Using 16S sequencing and Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification technology we will understand more about the make-up of the microbial community itself and how the functional methanogens may vary. We will also use non-targeted metabolomics to investigate why the process can result in foaming – the process of methane being trapped within the liquid component of the digester.
Effective start/end date1/05/1930/04/20


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