Integrated anaerobic digestion and gasification processes for upgrade of ethanol biorefinery residues


The upgrading of the biorefineries residues is a possible way to increase the overall process efficiency while attaining economicalrevenues from wastes that otherwise would be discarded. In this sense, anaerobic digestion and gasification representinteresting alternatives to convert organic residues into biofuels, electricity or other bioproducts. However, few studies haveexplored energy integration possibilities between those options or evaluated various final product pathways. Thus, in thiswork, various scenarios aimed at capitalizing the main residues of the sugarcane ethanol industry (vinasse and bagasse)are investigated. Two process layouts combining anaerobic digestion and gasification are proposed for each desired product(methane, hydrogen or power). The highest exergy efficiency (48%) was obtained for the configuration focused on methaneproduction and using a combined cycle, since it requires fewer resources and separation steps to convert feedstock into exportableproducts. On the other hand, exergy was primarily destroyed in vinasse disposal, since a significant fraction of itsorganic wastes are inert to anaerobic digestion, followed by the bagasse gasifier and utility systems, due to the irreversiblereactions occurring in these processes. In short, this study points to some improvement opportunities and reinforces theadvantages of the waste capitalization concept.

Author Biographies

Rafael Nogueira Nakashima, University of São Paulo
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Polytechnic School.PhD student.
Daniel Flórez-Orrego, University of São Paulo
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Polytechnic School.Post-doctoral fellow.
Silvio de Oliveira Junior, University of São Paulo
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Polytechnic School.Associated professor,


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How to Cite
NAKASHIMA, Rafael Nogueira; FLÓREZ-ORREGO, Daniel; DE OLIVEIRA JUNIOR, Silvio. Integrated anaerobic digestion and gasification processes for upgrade of ethanol biorefinery residues. Journal of Power Technologies, [S.l.], v. 99, n. 2, p. 104–114, apr. 2019. ISSN 2083-4195. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 02 dec. 2022.
Contemporary Problems of Thermal Engineering 2018 Gliwice


biogas; gasification; exergy; anaerobic digestion; energy integration

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