Anaerobic fermentation technology increases biomass energy use efficiency in crop residue utilization and biogas production
A biomass energy utilization project (Corn stalk→Cattle→Cattle dung→Biogas digester→Biogas/Digester residues→Soil) was conducted in a typical temperate agro-village of China from 2005 to 2010. The present study focused on two key approaches of the ecological loop: (1) increasing corn stalk use efficiency by improving anaerobic fermentation technology; and (2) enhancing biogas productivity by optimizing fermentation conditions. Our results showed that crude protein and fat of corn stalks significantly increased, while crude fiber content and pH decreased considerably during anaerobic fermentation. The cattle digestion rate, forage consumption and increases in cattle weight were higher in cattle fed fermented corn stalks than in those fed non-fermented corn stalks. The rate of biogas production was higher (78.4%) by using cattle dung as a substrate than using crop residues. Heat preservation measures effectively enhanced the biogas production rate (12.3%). In 2005, only two cattle were fed in this village, with only 1.1% corn stalk utilized as forage. No more than three biogas digesters existed, and the proportion of biogas energy used in total household fuel was only 1.7%. At the end of the 5-year experiment, the number of cattle capita reached 169 with 78.9% corn stalk used as forage. Biogas digesters increased to 130, and the proportion of biogas energy used in total household fuel was up to 42.3%. A significant positive correlation was noted between the increasing rate of farmers’ incomes and the proportion of corn stalks used as forage. Available nutrients were higher in fermented cattle dung than in fresh cattle dung. Our findings clearly suggest that anaerobic fermentation technology is important in enhancing crop residue use efficiency, biogas productivity and soil fertility. Fermentation technology may help reduce the use of fossil fuels and improve the environment in rural areas.
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Volume (Year): 16 (2012)
Issue (Month): 7 ()
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