oa South African Journal of Chemical Engineering - Effect of particle size on anaerobic digestion of different feedstocks

Volume 20, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1026-9185



The speed and stability of anaerobic digestion depends mainly on the particle size of the input material. In this paper, particle sizes of 500μm, 250μm, 100μm and 25μm were investigated to evaluate the effects of particle size on biogas production and identify the most suitable size that would improve the efficiency of anaerobic digestion. The study was conducted using anaerobic digestion batch scale tests and gas chromatography to investigate the quality of the gas produced and the optimum particle size to maximise methane production. Prior digestion, the distributions of particle sizes of all samples were determined using single and double pass distribution techniques. 59%, 53%, 33% and 39% of CD, CM, PM and SW were recovered, respectively. In both techniques, the weight of the feed recovered reduced as the sieve became smaller. Decreasing the particle size of the feedstock significantly increased the amount of biogas. At 25μm particle size, 583ml, 569ml, 538ml and 398ml of methane was produced on the 4th day of gas production for CD, PM, CM and SW, respectively. At optimal particle size (25μm) methane was 3 - 30 % higher as compared to that of 100μm, 250μm and 500μm particle size in mesophillic batch digestion tests.

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