A novel approach of using two stage anaerobic digestion coupled with electrodialysis technology has been investigated. This approach was used to improving bio hydrogen and methane yields from food waste while simultaneously producing a green chemical feedstock. The first digester was used for hydrogen production and the second digester was used for methane production. The first digester was combined with continuous separation of volatile fatty acids using electrodialysis. The concentrations of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the prepared food waste were 22.7%, 5.7% and 5.2% respectively. Continuous removal of volatile fatty acids during fermentation in the hydrogen digester not only increased hydrogen yields but also increased the production rate of volatile fatty acids. As a result of continuous VFA separation, hydrogen yields increased from 17.3 mL H2/g VS fermenter to 33.68 mL H2/g VS fermenter. Methane yields also increased from 28.94 mL CH4/g VS fermenter to 43.94 mL CH4/g VS fermenter. This represents a total increase in bio-energy yields of 77.1%. COD reduced by 73% after using two stage anaerobic digestion, however, this reduction increased to 86.7% after using electrodialysis technology for separation of volatile fatty acids. Electrodialysis technology coupled with anaerobic digestion improved substrate utilization, increased bioenergy yields and looks to be promising for treating complex wastes such as food waste.
- Food waste
- Energy yield