Anaerobic digestion process: technological aspects and recent developments

G. Náthia-Neves, M. Berni, G. Dragone, S. I. Mussatto, T. Forster-Carneiro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The technology of anaerobic digestion allows the use of biodegradable waste for energy production by breaking down organic matter through a series of biochemical reactions. Such process generates biogas (productivity of 0.45 Nm3/KgSV), which can be used as energy source in industrial activities or as fuel for automotive vehicles. Anaerobic digestion is an economically viable and environmentally friendly process since it makes possible obtaining clean energy at a low cost and without generating greenhouse gases. Searching for clean energy sources has been the target of scientists worldwide, and this technology has excelled on the basis of efficiency in organic matter conversion into biogas (yield in the range of 0.7–2.0 kWh/m3), considered energy carriers for the future. This paper gives an overview of the technology of anaerobic digestion of food waste, describing the metabolism and microorganisms involved in this process, as well as the operational factors that affect it such as temperature, pH, organic loading, moisture, C/N ratio, and co-digestion. The types of reactors that can be used, the methane production, and the most recent developments in this area are also presented and discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)2033-2046
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Biogas
  • Energy
  • Organic residues
  • Methane
  • Hydrogen


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