Prospects of Energy Production from Lignocellulosic Biomass, Solar Photovoltaic and Hybrid Systems

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Fossil fuel energy sources have been the primary source of energy and has a major share in meeting the energy demands of the day-to-day activities. However due to constant depletion of fossil fuel sources and low replenishment rate, it has forced mankind to shift its approach towards more renewable and sustainable energy sources. In recent years, all nations have shifted their approach from a fossil reliant nation to a more sustainable and greener approach nations. India being an agriculturally rich country with abundant biomass resources and ample solar radiation for maximum time of the year has invested majorly in biomass and solar. Anaerobic digestion of organic and lignocellulosic biomass has been a major area of research in many parts of this region. Though large-scale anaerobic digestion of organic biomass has already been implemented in some cities, use of lignocellulosic biomass has not been extensively done. The lignocellulosic biomass resources are either dumped in fields or are burned down releasing more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Keeping in view the constant depletion of fossil fuel sources and ever rising energy demand, it is essential that application and feasibility of renewable energy sources at community level is emphasized. The study was thus sub divided into three parts focusing on energy generation from anaerobic digestion, solar photovoltaic and hybrid systems. The anaerobic mono- and co-digestion of three lignocellulosic biomasses viz. duckweed, switchgrass and rice straw were performed in 1 litre laboratory-scale batch reactors. The initial biochemical methane potential test was performed at three different total solids concentrations (10%, 15%, 20%) and cattle dung to feedstock ratios (1:1, 1:1.5, 1:2) under mesophilic conditions (28–32 °C) for 36 days. Co-digestion of feedstocks at 1:1 ratio yielded better results than other cattle dung to feedstock ratios. Optimized physical parameters were further implemented for a scale-up co-digestion study of biogas potential from 4 m3 community-size biogas digesters. The investigation was performed for 60 days maintaining a hydraulic retention time of 40 days, and a comparative analysis with mono digestion of cattle dung was also analyzed. Average daily biogas production for digester containing rice straw and cattle dung was 0.36 m3/kg-VS, whereas it was 0.34 m3/kg-VS and 0.32 m3/kg-VS for switchgrass and duckweed, respectively. An overall comparative analysis of the biogas production and its composition for both biochemical methane potential tests and continuous processes are discussed in this work.
Supervisors: Mohanty, Kaustubha and Mahanta, Pinakeswar
Anaerobic Digestion, Solar Photovoltaic, Hybrid systems