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Biomethane production monitoring and data analysis based on the practical operation experiences of an innovative power-to-gas benchscale prototype
Published September 5, 2018

Power-to-gas (P2G) is referred to technologies that convert carbon dioxide into methane. Both bio- and chemical catalysts may be used for conversion purposes. One of the most disruptive biotechnologies was developed by the University of Chicago (IL) (publication number: EP2661511B1), using a robust, highly selective, patented strain of Archaea.... Electrochaea GmbH has developed an innovative bench-scale P2G prototype unit, which uses this highly efficient Archaea strain, specialized components and specifically developed control strategies. The structure and the components of the prototype are equivalent with the functional parts of the currently largest commercial scale biomethanation BioCat plant located in Avedøre, Denmark ( Power-to-Gas Hungary Kft. has committed to further develop this innovative technology. The first steps of this development have been taken by operating the benchscale unit and analyzing the data of the operating periods.

The prototype is operated based on weekly campaigns. During continuous operation, H2O is generated as a by-product of methane. Therefore, approximately 200 ml of biocatalyst is discharged each day and concentrated media containing macro and micronutrients are injected into the reactor to maintain media composition. The laboratory staff records all gas composition data each morning. The gas composition is measured every 12 minutes by an Awite AwiFlex Cool+ gas analyzer. Within this article, we analyze the collected datasets containing more than 12 000 records and present the first practical experiences of the operations of the innovative power-to-gas bench-scale prototype.

The analysis of the collected gas composition data of the product gas already provides important data for modelling the commercial-scaled processes. The average value of VVD was about 40 l/l/d in the period under review. Further increase of the methane content can be achieved by introduction of higher mixing energy and by increasing pressure levels in the bioreactor (as demonstrated in the BioCat plant – data not shown here) – both of which are strategies envisioned for the commercial plant. In routine activities (turn on, shut down, continuous operation) we could verify the high robustness of the biocatalyst and the base connection between the registered datasets and performed test results.

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