Bioproducts and Biofuels from High Organic Strength Wastewater and Organic Solid Waste

M. Urgun-Demirtas, H. Wu, D. Demro, S.A. Flores
Argonne National Laboratory,
United States

Keywords: food waste, bioproducts, biofuels


Bioproducts and Biofuels from High Organic Strength Wastewater and Organic Solid Waste Meltem Urgun-Demirtas, Haoran Wu, Delaney Demro, Sue Ann Flores Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 S Cass Avenue, Lemont, IL, USA, Huge quantities of high organic strength wastewater and organic solid waste are produced and disposed of in the US each year (EPA, 2016). In this presentation, an overview of several projects conducted at Argonne National Laboratory will be provided. We have been developing new processes to produce biofuels and bioproduct precursors from organic wastewater and organic fraction of municipal solid waste. We recently developed a new biogas production and upgrading process to capture and sequester the carbon dioxide that is naturally produced during anaerobic digestion of food waste by utilizing waste material (biochar) from thermochemical processing, such as gasification and pyrolysis, of lignocellulosic biomass under oxygen. The methane content in the digester amended with biochar was 83.6% while it was 72.7% in the control digester. This in situ biogas production and upgrading process resulted in a 40-75% reduction in the CO2 production volume. The agronomic value of digestate (aka left over after anaerobic digestion of organics) also enhanced due to addition of biochar which can be used as low-cost fertilizer for crops cultivation. In a new resource recovery concept, highly diverse, negative/low value cheese whey and brewery wastewater organic waste streams were converted into short chain organic acids (lactic, acetic acid, butyric acid) through new arrested AD technologies at mild operating conditions (30-60 o C and atmospheric pressure). Enrich isolated consortium redirected the acidogenesis towards organic acid production and arrested methanogenesis. The maximum organic acid concentration reached to 40 g/l after seven days of fermenter operations. We have been also developing a new bioprocess by reconstituting food waste streams for 3D printing to replace fossil-based plastics. 3D printing allowed us fine tuning of each food waste stream to produce bioplastics at different properties. This process will not only reduce food waste and plastics accumulation, but also provide direct transformation of food waste into biopolymers.