Managing an anaerobic digestion plant (ADP) means “farming bacteria”. Unlike any conventional farming activity, an anaerobic digester contains a very complex microbial ecosystem, encompassing over a thousand different species of microorganisms, each one requiring a different type of “fodder”, whose ecologic equilibrium may be lost from time to time. There are infinite causes why an anaerobic digestion (AD) process may lose its efficiency, as for instance: inhibition of some of the bacterial groups composing the ecosystem, presence of antibiotics or other contaminants, too little or too much substrate to digest, unbalances in the C/N/P proportions of the feedstock, etc. Checking periodically the health of each of the microbial groups helps to prevent or to diagnose in advance any inhibition phenomenon that may reduce the AD plant’s productivity.
This is a short description of an industrial application where AMPTS II Light has been used to identify the microbiological reason of a poorly operated Italian biogas plant. Based on the outcome, it was quite straight forward to find a correct rescue solution to bring the operation back in normal condition.
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