Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Enhancing methane production from the invasive macroalga Rugulopteryx okamurae through anaerobic co-digestion with olive mill solid waste: process performance and kinetic analysis.

Abstract

The biomass valorisation of the invasive brown alga Rugulopteryx okamurae (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae) is key to curbing the expansion of this invasive macroalga which is generating tonnes of biomass on southern Spain beaches. As a feasible alternative for the biomass management, anaerobic co-digestion is proposed in this study. Although the anaerobic digestion of macroalgae barely produced 177 mL of CH4 g-1 VS, the co-digestion with a C-rich substrate, such as the olive mill solid waste (OMSW, the main waste derived from the two-phase olive oil manufacturing process), improved the anaerobic digestion process. The mixture improved not only the methane yield, but also its biodegradability. The highest biodegradability was found in the mixture 1 R. okamurae - 1 OMSW, which improved the biodegradability of the macroalgae by 12.9% and 38.1% for the OMSW. The highest methane yield was observed for the mixture 1 R. okamurae - 3 OMSW, improving the methane production of macroalgae alone by 157% and the OMSW methane production by 8.6%. Two mathematical models were used to fit the experimental data of methane production time with the aim of assessing the processes and obtaining the kinetic constants of the anaerobic co-digestion of different combination of R. okamurae and OMSW and both substrates independently. First-order kinetic and the transference function models allowed for appropriately fitting the experimental results of methane production with digestion time. The specific rate constant, k (first-order model) for the mixture 1 R. okamurae- 1.5 OMSW, was 5.1 and 1.3 times higher than that obtained for the mono-digestion of single OMSW and the macroalga, respectively. In the same way, the transference function model revealed that the maximum methane production rate (Rmax) was also found for the mixture 1 R. okamurae-1.5 OMSW (30.4 mL CH4 g-1 VS day-1), which was 1.6 and 2.2 times higher than the corresponding to the mono-digestions of the single OMSW and sole R. okamurae (18.9 and 13.6 mL CH4 g-1 VS day-1), respectively.