Biomethanation and Its Potential

Irini Angelidaki, Dimitar Borisov Karakashev, Damien J. Batstone, Caroline M. Plugge, Alfons J. M. Stams

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Biomethanation is a process by which organic material is microbiologically converted under anaerobic conditions to biogas. Three main physiological groups of microorganisms are involved: fermenting bacteria, organic acid oxidizing bacteria, and methanogenic archaea. Microorganisms degrade organic matter via cascades of biochemical conversions to methane and carbon dioxide. Syntrophic relationships between hydrogen producers (acetogens) and hydrogen scavengers (homoacetogens, hydrogenotrophic methanogens, etc.) are critical to the process. Determination of practical and theoretical methane potential is very important for design for optimal process design, configuration, and effective evaluation of economic feasibility. A wide variety of process applications for biomethanation of wastewaters, slurries, and solid waste have been developed. They utilize different reactor types (fully mixed, plugflow, biofilm, UASB, etc.) and process conditions (retention times, loading rates, temperatures, etc.) in order to maximize the energy output from the waste and also to decrease retention time and enhance process stability. Biomethanation has strong potential for the production of energy from organic residues and wastes. It will help to reduce the use of fossil fuels and thus reduce CO2 emission.
Original languageEnglish
Book seriesMethods in Enzymology
Pages (from-to)329-353
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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