Author(s): F Haugen, R Bakke, B Lie, K Vasdalc
Optimal design and operation of a planned full-scale UASB reactor at a dairy farm are determined using optimization algorithms based on steady state simulations of a dynamic AD process model combined with models of the reactor temperature and heat exchanger temperatures based on energy balances. Available feedstock is 6 m3/d dairy manure produced by the herd. Three alternative optimization problems are solved: Maximization of produced methane gas flow, minimization of reactor volume, and maximization of power surplus. Constraints of the optimization problems are an upper limit of the VFA concentration, and an upper limit of the feed rate corresponding to a normal animal waste production at the farm. The most proper optimization problem appears to be minimization of the reactor volume, assuming that the feed rate is fixed at its upper limit and that the VFA concentration is at its upper limit. The optimal result is a power surplus of 49.8 MWh/y, a hydraulic retention time of 6.1 d, and a reactor temperature of 35.9 °C, assuming heat recovery with an heat exchanger, and perfect reactor heat transfer insulation. In general, the optimal solutions are improved if the ratio of the solids (biomass) retention time to the hydraulic retention time is increased.