Solutions for Foaming Problems in Biogas Reactors Using Natural Oils or Fatty Acids as Defoamers

Panagiotis Kougias, Kanokwan Boe, Irini Angelidaki

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleResearchpeer-review


Foaming is one of the most common and important problems in biogas plants, leading to severe operational, economical, and environmental drawbacks. Because addition of easily degradable co-substrates for boosting the biogas production can suddenly raise the foaming problem, the full-scale biogas plants face an increasing necessity in finding efficient and cost-effective antifoaming solutions to avoid the dramatic consequences of foaming incidents. One of the most common solutions to suppress foaming is the use of chemical defoamers. The present work is a mini-review summarizing the aggregated results from our previous extensive research along with some unpublished data on defoaming by rapeseed oil and oleic acid in manure-based biogas reactors. It was found that both compounds exhibited remarkable defoaming efficiency ranging from 30 to 57% in biogas reactors suffering from foaming problems promoted by the addition of protein, lipid, or carbohydrate co-substrates. However, in most cases, the defoaming efficiency of rapeseed oil was greater than that of oleic acid, and therefore, rapeseed oil is recommended to be used in biogas reactors to solve foaming problems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy & Fuels
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)4046-4051
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event2nd International Scientific Conference Biogas Science - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 26 Oct 201430 Oct 2014
Conference number: 2


Conference2nd International Scientific Conference Biogas Science


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