(1) Background: The continuously increasing demand for renewable energy sources renders anaerobic digestion as one of the most promising technologies for renewable energy production. Due to the animal production intensification, manure is being used as the primary feedstock for most biogas plants. Their economical profitable operation, however, relies on increasing the methane yield from the solid fraction of manure, which is not so easily degradable. The solid fraction after anaerobic digestion, the so-called digested fibers, consists mainly of hardly biodegradable material and comes at a lower mass per unit volume of manure compared to the solid fraction before anaerobic digestion. Therefore, investigation on how to increase the biodegradability of digested fibers is very relevant. So far, Aqueous Ammonia Soaking (AAS), has been successfully applied on digested fibers separated from the effluent of a manure-fed, full-scale anaerobic digester to enhance their methane productivity in batch experiments. (2) Methods: In the present study, continuous experiments at a mesophilic (38 °C) CSTR-type anaerobic digester fed with swine manure first and a mixture of manure with AAS-treated digested fibers in the sequel, were performed. Anaerobic Digestion Model 1 (ADM1) previously fitted on manure fed digester was used in order to assess the effect of the addition of AAS-pre-treated digested manure fibers on the kinetics of anaerobic digestion process. (3) Results and Conclusions: The methane yield of AAS-treated digested fibers under continuous operation was 49–68% higher than that calculated in batch experiments in the past. It was found that AAS treatment had a profound effect mainly on the disintegration/hydrolysis rate of particulate carbohydrates. Comparison of the data obtained in the present study with the data obtained with AAS-pre-treated raw manure fibers in the past revealed that hydrolysis kinetics after AAS pre-treatment were similar for both types of biomasses.
- Anaerobic digestion
- Aqueous ammonia soaking pre-treatment
- Digested manure fibers