Enhancement of methane yield from wheat straw, miscanthus and Willow using aqueous ammonia soaking

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The increasing demand for methane production cannot be satisfied by the use of anaerobic digestion only from waste/wastewater treatment. Perennial energy crops, such as miscanthus and willow, as well as agricultural residues canbe considered as options for increasing the methane production through biomass digestion, due to their high organic contentand biomass yield. These materials present a great potential, which is only limited by the rigid lignocellulosic structure. Inthis case, it is possible to apply a pretreatment step in order to achieve increased biogas production. In the present study, aqueous ammonia soaking (AAS) has been investigated as a method to disrupt the lignocellulosic structure and increase themethane yield of wheat straw, miscanthus and willow. Among the three biomasses tested, wheat straw and miscanthus werethe most promising in terms of methane production, yielding around 200 and 230 ml of methane per gram of total solids. Inall three cases, AAS resulted to an increase in methane yield of 37–41%, 25–27% and 94–162% for wheat straw, miscanthusand willow, respectively. A comparison of the methane yields after 20 and 50 days of anaerobic digestion revealed that AAS affected positively the methane production rate as well. AAS also resulted to a low solubilization of sugars, with a 15.4% and 8.9% increase in soluble xylose concentration in miscanthus and willow, respectively, and a 5% solubilization of glucose in AAS-pretreated miscanthus.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Technology (United Kingdom)
Issue number13-14
Pages (from-to)2069-2075
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Aqueous ammonia soaking
  • Lignocellulosic biomass
  • Methane potential
  • Miscanthus
  • Pretreatment
  • Wheat straw
  • Willow


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