Research University - Warsaw University of Technology

Home » News »

WUT scientists work on increasing the biogas production

Although researchers have been looking for solutions facilitating the intensification of the process of methane fermentation for years, so far, they have failed to determine a method which each time would lead to an increase in biogas production. The reason remains unknown. WUT scientists are among the researchers who are trying to explain that. 

A sewage treatment plant, photo: Pixabay

The work on methods of increasing biogas production aims to make the technical objects independent of external energy sources and achieve energetic sufficiency, which will facilitate the reduction of the maintenance costs of sewage treatment plants and agricultural biogas treatment plants.

“Based on previous research, we hypothesise that one of the factors affecting the achievement of the anticipated increase in methane production might be the re-flocculation of sludge, which is the re-coagulation of disintegrated flocs of active sludge into larger aggregates,” says Dr Adam Muszyński, Associate Professor from the Faculty of Building Services, Hydro and Environmental Engineering at WUT. “This phenomenon leads to a decrease in substrate availability for microorganisms. The more available the substrate for microorganisms, the easier it is for them to produce biogasfaster and in larger quantities,” he explains.

Scientists have assessed the influence of the initial substrate processing using the method of hydrodynamic disintegration on the structure of aggregates of microorganisms participating in the process of methane fermentation. During the research, microbiota analysis utilising sequencing of the amplicon of 16S rRNA gene and fluorescent hybridisation in-situ technique (FISH) were used, among other things.

“Both methods are used to detect microorganisms and determine their number,” says Professor Muszyński.  “They’re based on using a specific sequence of nucleotides in the genetic code facilitating the precise and error-free identification of microorganisms,” explains the scientist.

Research results

The project aimed to test how initial processing affects the number of individual groups of eco-physiological microorganisms.

“Research findings show that the source of the inoculation of the reactor in which methane fermentation occurs with microorganisms and the origin of substrates have the greatest impact on the number, not the processing itself,” says Professor Muszyński.

Currently, researchers are working on modelling the course of methane production. This stage of work is conducted at the Faculty of Chemistry at WUT. The devised mathematical model will facilitate predicting the intensity of methane production depending on the initial data.



Project “Assessment of the impact of pretreatment of substrates by hydrofynamic disintegration on the structure of microbial communities involved in the anaerobic digestation in wastewater treatment plants and agricultural biogas plants” is funded under the research grant BEYOND POB of the “Excellence Initiative - Research University” programme implemented at the Warsaw University of Technology.

Research team:
Adam Muszyński, PhD, DSc, Associate Professor; Dr Nina Doskocz; Monika Żubrowska-Sudoł, PhD, DSc, Associate Professor; Otto Roubinek, DSc; Katarzyna Umiejewska, DSc; Agnieszka Garlicka, MSc