Use of Biochemical Methane Potential (BMP) Assays for Predicting and Enhancing Anaerobic Digester Performance

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2009-01-01
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Moody, Lara
Burns, Robert
Wu-haan, Wei
Spajic, Robert
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

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In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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1905–present

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
Abstract

A Biochemical Methane Potential (BMP) assay provides a measure of the anaerobic digestibility of a given substrate. The use of BMPs provides a relatively inexpensive and repeatable method to make relative comparisons of the anaerobic digestibility and potential biogas production between various substrates. Biochemical Methane Potentials can be used to determine the amount of organic carbon in a given material that can be anaerobically converted to methane and to evaluate potential biogas production efficiency of the anaerobic process on a given material. The information provided by BMPs is valuable when evaluating potential anaerobic substrates and for optimizing the design and operation of an anaerobic digester. This paper describes the BMP assay procedure used in the Agricultural Waste Management Laboratory at Iowa State University for quantifying both biogas production and methane content and it describes how the results can be used.

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