Biogas production by anaerobic digestion of wastewater from palm oil mill industry

  • Debora Alcida Nabarlatz Universidad Industrial de Santander.
  • Ligia Patricia Arenas Beltrán Universidad Industrial de Santander.
  • Diana Milena Herrera Soracá Universidad Industrial de Santander.
  • Diana Andrea Niño Bonilla Universidad Industrial de Santander.
Keywords: Wastewater, Anaerobic digestion, Palm oil, Methane


The environmental impact caused by the fossil fuel use encourages society to look for new sources of renewable energy, such as biodiesel. During the last years, palm oil production has dramatically increased in Colombia, since it is the main raw material for biodiesel production. As consequence of the process, palm oil mill effluents with high content of pollutants are released to the environment. Since these effluents have physicochemical characteristics that make them suitable for the production of biogas by anaerobic digestion of residual water, this research evaluates the production of methane using wastewater as substrate from a Colombian palm oil mill. Anaerobic digestion experiments were conducted in batch mode to evaluate the influence of pH and inoculum to substrate ratio, by using two differents inoculums. It was found that the most suitable inoculum was a mixture of 1:1 v/v urban Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) anaerobic sludge/pig manure at a ratio 2 g Volatile Solids (VS) inoculum/g VS substrate, which presented the highest accumulated methane production, reaching 2740 mL methane (0.343 m3 CH4/kg VS) without neutralizing pH.


APHA, WEF, AWWA (1995). Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, 19th ed. American Public Health Association, Washington DC.

Borzacconi, L., López, I. & Viñas, M. (1995). Application of anaerobic digestion to the treatment of agroindustrial effluents in Latin America. Water Sci. Technol., 32(12), 105-111.

Castillo, E., Cristancho, D. & Arellano, V. (2006). Study of the operational conditions for anaerobic digestion of urban solid wastes, Waste Manag., 26(5), 546-556.

Castro, L. (2012). Proceso integral para la digestión anaerobia del bagazo de fique. Tesis doctoral Fac. Ingenierías Fisicoquímicas, Universidad Industrial de Santander, Bucaramanga, Colombia, 176pp.

Chaiprapat, S. & Laklam, T. (2011). Enhancing digestion efficiency of POME in anaerobic sequencing batch reactor with ozonation pretreatment and cycle time reduction. Bioresour. Technol., 102(5), 4061-4068.

Chan,Y., Chong, M. & Law, C. (2010). Biological treatment of anaerobically digested Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) using a lab-scale Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR). J. Environ. Manag., 91(8), 1738-1746.

Chen, Y., Cheng, J. & Creamer, K. (2008). Inhibition of anaerobic digestion process. Bioresour. Technol., 99(10), 4044-4064.

de La Rubia, M., Raposo, F., Rincón, B. & Borja, R. (2009). Evaluation of the hydrolytic-acidogenic step of a two-stage mesophilic anaerobic digestion process of sunflower oil cake. Bioresour. Technol., 100(18), 4133-4138.

Díaz, M., Espitia, S. & Molina, F. (2002). Digestión anaerobia: Una aproximación a la tecnología. Bogotá: Unibiblos.

Dinsdale, R., Premier, G., Hawkes, F. & Hawkes, D. (2000). Two-stage anaerobic co-digestion of waste activated sludge and fruit/vegetable waste using inclined tubular digesters. Bioresour. Technol., 72(2), 159-168.

Field, J. (1987). Parámetros operativos del reactor de manto de lodos anaeróbicos de flujo ascendente. Curso Arranque y operación de reactores anaerobios con flujo ascendente y manto de lodos (UASB). Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia.

Forster, T., Pérez, M. & Romero, L. (2008). Influences of total solid and inoculum on performance of anaerobic reactors treating food waste. Bioresour. Technol., 99(15), 6994-7002.

La , M. & Lee, K. (2011). Renewable and sustainable bioenergies production from Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME): Win-win strategies toward better environmental protection. Biotechnol. Adv., 29(1), 124-141.

Lasso, J. & Ramírez, J. (2011). Perspectivas generales del efecto del reúso de aguas residuales para riego en cultivos para la producción de biocombustibles en Colombia. El Hombre y la Máquina, 36: 95-105.

Mata, A., Macé, S. & Llabrés, P. (2000). Anaerobic digestion of organic solid wastes. An overview of research achievements and perspectives. Bioresour. Technol., 74(1), 3-16.

Mustapha, S., Ashhuby, B., Rashid, M. & Azni, I. (2003). Start-up strategy of a thermophilic upflow anaerobic filter for treating palm oil mill effluent. Trans. I Chem E., 81(4), 262-266.

Nichols, C. (2004). Overview of anaerobic digestion technologies in Europe. BioCycle, 45(1), 47-53.

Pavlostathis, S. & Giraldo, G. (1991). Kinetics of anaerobic treatment. Water Sci. Technol., 24(8), 35-59.

Poh, P. & Chong, M. (2009). Development of anaerobic digestion methods for Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) treatment. Bioresour. Technol., 100(1) 1-9.

Quintero, M. (2011). Estudio de consorcios microbianos para la producción de biogás a partir de residuos de fique. Tesis de maestría, Fac. Ingenierías Fisicoquímicas, Universidad Industrial de Santander, Bucaramanga, Colombia, 104pp.

Raposo, F., Banks, C., Siegert, I. & Borja, R. (2006). Influence of inoculum to substrate ratio on the biochemical methane potential of maize in batch tests. Biochemistry, 41(6), 1444-1450.

Rittmann, B. & McCarty, P. (2001). Biotecnología del medio ambiente, principios y aplicaciones, España: McGraw Hill.

Sharma, A., Unni, B. & Singh, H. (1999). A novel fed-batch digestion system for biomethanation of plant biomasses. J. Biosci. Bioeng., 87(5), 678-682.

Tabatabaei, M., Rahim, R., Abdullah, N., Wright, A. Shirai, Y., Sakai, K., Sulaiman, A. & Hassan, M.(2010). Importance of the methanogenic archaea populations in anaerobic wastewater treatments. Biochemistry, 45(8), 1214-1225.

Yu, H., Samani, Z., Hanson, A. & Smith, G. (2002). Energy recovery from grass using two phase anaerobic digestion. Waste Manag., 22(1), 1-5.

Zeng, S., Yuan, X., Shi, X. & Qiu, Y. (2010) Effect of inoculum/substrate ratio on methane yield and orthophosphate release from anaerobic digestion of microcystis. J. Hazard. Mat., 178(1-3), 89-93.
How to Cite
Nabarlatz, D. A., Arenas Beltrán, L. P., Herrera Soracá, D. M., & Niño Bonilla, D. A. (2013). Biogas production by anaerobic digestion of wastewater from palm oil mill industry. CT&F - Ciencia, Tecnología Y Futuro, 5(2), 73-84.


Download data is not yet available.
Scientific and Technological Research Articles