• Methane production through anaerobic digestion of dedicated energy crops
  • Di Girolamo, Giuseppe <1983>


  • AGR/02 Agronomia e coltivazioni erbacee


  • Methane yield of ligno-cellulosic substrates (i.e. dedicated energy crops and agricultural residues) may be limited by their composition and structural features. Hence, biomass pre-treatments are envisaged to overcome this constraint. This thesis aimed at: i) assessing biomass and methane yield of dedicated energy crops; ii) evaluating the effects of hydrothermal pre-treatments on methane yield of Arundo; iii) investigating the effects of NaOH pre-treatments and iv) acid pre-treatments on chemical composition, physical structure and methane yield of two dedicated energy crops and one agricultural residue. Three multi-annual species (Arundo, Switchgrass and Sorghum Silk), three sorghum hybrids (Trudan Headless, B133 and S506) and a maize, as reference for AD, were studied in the frame of point i). Results exhibit the remarkable variation in biomass yield, chemical characteristics and potential methane yield. The six species alternative to maize deserve attention in view of a low need of external inputs but necessitate improvements in biodegradability. In the frame of point ii), Arundo was subjected to hydrothermal pre-treatments at different temperature, time and acid catalyst (with and without H2SO4). Pre-treatments determined a variable effect on methane yield: pre-treatments without acid catalyst achieved up to +23% CH4 output, while pre-treatments with H2SO4 catalyst incurred a methanogenic inhibition. Two biomass crops (Arundo and B133) and an agricultural residue (Barley straw) were subject to NaOH and acid pre-treatments, in the frame of point iii) and iv), respectively. Different pre-treatments determined a change of chemical and physical structure and an increase of methane yield: up to +30% and up to +62% CH4 output in Arundo with NaOH and acid pre-treatments, respectively. It is thereby demonstrated that pre-treatments can actually enhance biodegradability and subsequent CH4 output of ligno-cellulosic substrates, although pre-treatment viability needs to be evaluated at the level of full scale biogas plants in a perspective of profitable implementation.


  • 2014-05-27


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Di Girolamo, Giuseppe (2014) Methane production through anaerobic digestion of dedicated energy crops, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze agroambientali , 25 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6641.