Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Byard Wood


Anaerobic digestion has great potential as an energy source. Not only does it provide an effective method for waste mitigation, but it has the potential to generate significant quantities of fuel and electricity. In order to ensure efficient digestion and biomass utilization, however, the system must be continuously maintained at elevated temperatures. It is technically feasible to supplement such a system with outside energy, but it is more cost effective to heat the system using only the produced biogas. While there is considerable literature covering the theory of anaerobic digestion, there are very few practical studies to show how heat utilization affects system operation. This study considers the effect of major design variables (i.e. heat exchanger efficiencies and biogas conditioning) on promoting a completely self-sustaining digestion system. The thesis considers a real world system and analyzes how it can be improved to avoid the need of an external energy source.


This work made publicly available electronically on July 31, 2012.