A study on 18 full-scale centralized biogas plants was carried out in order to find significant operational factors influencing productivity and stability of the plants. It was found that the most plants were operating relatively stable with volatile fatty acids (VFA) concentration below 1.5 g/l. VFA concentration increase was observed in occasions with dramatic overloading or other disturbances such as operational temperature changes. Ammonia was found to be a significant factor for stability. A correlation between increased residual biogas production and high ammonia was found. When ammonia was higher than approx. 4 g-N/l the degradation efficiency of the plant decreased and as a consequence, the residual methane potential was high. Decrease of the residual methane potential with increasing hydraulic retention time was found. Digestion temperature was very important for effective post-digestion. Post-digestion for recovering the residual methane potential at temperatures below 15 °C was very inefficient.

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