A sustainable biorefinery to convert agricultural residues into value-added chemicals

Zhiguo Liu, Wei Liao, Yan Liu

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

    • 1 Citations

    Abstract

    Background: Animal wastes are of particular environmental concern due to greenhouse gases emissions, odor problem, and potential water contamination. Anaerobic digestion (AD) is an effective and widely used technology to treat them for bioenergy production. However, the sustainability of AD is compromised by two by-products of the nutrient-rich liquid digestate and the fiber-rich solid digestate. To overcome these limitations, this paper demonstrates a biorefinery concept to fully utilize animal wastes and create a new value-added route for animal waste management. Results: The studied biorefinery includes an AD, electrocoagulation (EC) treatment of the liquid digestate, and fungal conversion of the solid fiber into a fine chemical - chitin. Animal wastes were first treated by an AD to produce methane gas for energy generation to power the entire biorefinery. The resulting liquid digestate was treated by EC to reclaim water. Enzymatic hydrolysis and fungal fermentation were then applied on the cellulose-rich solid digestate to produce chitin. EC water was used as the processing water for the fungal fermentation. The results indicate that the studied biorefinery converts 1 kg dry animal wastes into 17 g fungal biomass containing 12 % of chitin (10 % of glucosamine), and generates 1.7 MJ renewable energy and 8.5 kg irrigation water. Conclusions: This study demonstrates an energy positive and freshwater-free biorefinery to simultaneously treat animal wastes and produce a fine chemical - chitin. The sustainable biorefinery concept provides a win-win solution for agricultural waste management and value-added chemical production.

    LanguageEnglish (US)
    Article number197
    JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
    Volume9
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 17 2016

    Profile

    chemical
    animal waste
    Agricultural wastes
    Animals
    Water
    chitin
    water
    anaerobic digestion
    Chitin
    Anaerobic digestion
    Digestion
    liquid
    energy
    Liquids
    Electrocoagulation
    fermentation
    waste management
    fibre
    Waste management
    Fermentation

    Keywords

    • Anaerobic digestion
    • Animal wastes
    • Biorefinery
    • Chitin/chitosan
    • Electrocoagulation
    • Fungal fermentation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Energy(all)
    • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
    • Biotechnology
    • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
    • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

    Cite this

    A sustainable biorefinery to convert agricultural residues into value-added chemicals. / Liu, Zhiguo; Liao, Wei; Liu, Yan.

    In: Biotechnology for Biofuels, Vol. 9, No. 1, 197, 17.09.2016.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

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