The latest studies have proven that there is potential for high CO2 conversion rate to CH4 under robust operation by a novel concept using bio-trickling filters (BTFs). These filters offer a high specific area for biofilm growth and high density of biomass and are known for their high gas to liquid and gas to biofilm mass transfer coefficients, enabling faster hydrogen conversion and smaller reactors. Thus, an extremely high rate of H2 and CO2 conversion has been proven, enabling remarkably high methane productivity, outlining that there is a potential for even higher conversion rates under robust operation, if this novel approach is optimized. There are major challenges that must be addressed in order to consolidate the concept under full scale conditions, create a robust technology and maximize the efficiency of the system in order to be commercialized. We hypothesize that by developing BTFs system and meeting the challenges we will be in the position to demonstrate for the first time a large scale biomethanation plant. SDU and DTU, will in a tight collaboration, research a robust and stable high rate biomethanation process using trickle filter-bed reactors and significantly increase the understanding of the environmental conditions affecting the efficiency of the process. Key microbial cultures involved in the biomethanation process will be identified and the parameters that influence reactor’s efficiency and stability during the process will be studied by correlating the dynamicity of the microbial communities with operation status. The outcome of this study will provide comprehensive and coherent insight into the optimal operating configuration.
We will be able to demonstrate for the first time a large scale biomethanation plant that will generate a gas mixture containing more than 90% methane at high production rates. The remaining CO2 will be removed by traditional methods and recirculated for methanation. The resulting biogas can substitute natural gas (i.e. methane content of more than 98%) or can be used as transportation fuel. Successful implementation of the project will open new avenues in smart energy grid design, wind and biogas sector, helping to decouple the availability of conventional biomass from biomethane production.