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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P030238/1
Title: Enhancing the Methane Generation from Food Waste Anaerobic Digestion Mediated by Fluidic Oscillator Generated Microbubbles
Principal Investigator: Zimmerman, Professor W
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Department: Chemical & Biological Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Technology Programme
Starts: 20 February 2017 Ends: 19 February 2018 Value (£): 80,887
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Summary on Grant Application Form
As a civilisation, we generate an enormous amount of food waste with over 2 billion tonnes produced per year, much of which can be utilised as energy using AD in a sustainable manner if properly processed. The EU, with UK being the leading offender, generates over 89 MT of food waste per year. This waste can be redistributed as food source for animals as a first step, but with that failing, it is better to recover the energy using AD. AD represents nutrient recovery and is a preferred option over all other means of waste management as prescribed by the Waste Food Hierarchy discussed in the 2015 House of Lords report on food waste. AD is a process which converts food waste or biomass or manure in anaerobic (without presence of air) conditions by the breakdown of higher chain compounds into methane and other lower chain compounds. This process conventionally follows the following steps - 1. Placing biomass (wet food waste) into sealed air tight container 2. Digestion of this biomass(wet food waste) using anaerobic microbes present in the system to produce methane rich biogas to be used for energy generation 3. Digestate to be used as manure or compost

The pathway we are proposing is replacing the airtight container with fluidically oscillated CO2 rich microbubbles obtained by sweetening of the flue gas on-site using CaCaCa process[1] and microbubble technology[2-5]. Periodic injection (5 minute) of CO2 rich microbubbles has shown to increase CH4 production by 110% as compared to the conventional process. This is a dual pronged process with removal of metabolites/wastes by microbubble stripping and simultaneous nutrient injection. The CH4 generated can be used for energy generation thereby offsetting fossil fuel use and reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions . We get the CO2 rich microbubbles by sweetening biogas gas using the CaCaCa process in order to capture the CH4 which is then burnt and the flue gas is CO2 rich (potentially with water vapour which can be easily condensed. This is further self sustaining since the burning of the CH4 produced in the first step leads to flue gas generation. The fluidic oscillator for microbubble generation underpins the sweetening and methanogenesis (the process in AD wherein methane is generated). This greatly increases the value of products formed in AD whilst consuming the CO2 generated thereby further offsetting GHG emissions. Recovering the heat from the process add to this energy balance which can be used for on-site heating via Combined Heat and Power (CHP). The project is going to investigate the onsite prototype build of this novel fluidically oscillated CO2 rich microbubble process for AD and simultaneous sweetening of the flue gas generated using the CaCaCa process optimised with Perlemax's fluidic oscillator driven microbubbles. The CHP and CH4 generation can be further increased by optimisation of the process variables as discussed in AppendixB part 2. This would possibly increase CH4 generation over the slated 110%.

This ensures a minimisation of the carbon footprint whilst maximisation of the energy generated for the same. The combination of these potential benefits could be economic without subsidy or tariff skewing the market.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk