DIGEST PLAST

Methane fermentation of biomass containing biodegradable polymeric material

The subject of the project is methane fermentation of the organic fraction of waste from selective collection and the organic fraction separated from mixed municipal waste. Additionally, the project focuses on biodegradable polymers. Commonly introduced biodegradable polymers will undoubtedly have an increasing impact on the properties of the feed directed to bioreactors, and thus on the efficiency of biogas production, digestate quality and its susceptibility to composting, especially in terms of the presence of so-called microplastics, which are now very popular substitute for conventional polymers. DIGEST-PLAST project investigates possibilities of the organic fraction of municipal and industrial waste utilization for renewable energy (biogas) production. The project’s concept expands problems presented in the implemented POM-BIOGAS project. Also it draws attention to the growing problem with the appearance of a biodegradable polymers in the surrounding environment, which fate during such processes like methane fermentation has not been thoroughly studied yet. The studies planed in the project will include the assessment of the tendency of conversion of biodegradable polymers to microplastics. Finally, the scope of the project will verify, how the presence of biodegradable polymers influences the course of methane fermentation. Since, biodegradable polymers are not collected separately from the waste stream and hence are not subjected to appropriate treatment to reveal their biodegradable nature, they may be considered harmful, similarly to microplastic. The aim of the project will focus on an enhancement of biodegradable plastic decomposition during methane fermentation process. Different pre-treatment methods will be suggested to optimise process flow.

Additionally, the process scale-up will be demonstrated and the simplified method for estimation of fertilising properties will be developed.

Project DIGEST PLAST(NOR/POLNOR/SNIT/0055/2019-00) is financed by Programme “Applied research” under the Norwegian Financial Mechanisms 2014 – 2021/POLNOR 2019.

Project duration: 01.11.2020 to 31.10.2023

Project budget: 1 324 780 EUR

Project promotor: Gdańsk University of Technology

Partners:

  • Utilization Plant Gdańsk,
  • Aquateam COWI AS

Project website: https://chem.pg.edu.pl/digest-plast