Anaerobic digestion is a technology which is used to produce methane from organic solids and energy crops. Especially in recent years, the fermentation of energy crops has become more and more important because of increasing costs for energy and special benefits for renewable energy sources in Germany. Anaerobic bacteria require macro and micro nutrients to grow. Absence of these elements can inhibit the anaerobic process significantly. In particular mono-substrates like maize or certain industrial wastewater often cannot provide all required nutrients. For this reason this research investigates the influence of substrate and trace elements on anaerobic digestion in detail. Different agricultural anaerobic biomasses are analysed with special regard to their trace element content. Based on these results, the influence of three trace elements (iron, cobalt, and nickel) on anaerobic digestion was studied in anaerobic batch tests at different sludge loading rates and for different substrates (maize and acetate). Biogas production was found to be 35% for maize silage and up to 70% higher for acetate with trace element dosage than in the reference reactor.

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