Enhanced Biogas Production from Nanoscale Zero Valent Iron-Amended Anaerobic Bioreactors


Journal Article

© Copyright 2015, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2015. Addition of nanoscale zero valent iron (NZVI) to anaerobic batch reactors to enhance methanogenic activity is described. Two NZVI systems were tested: a commercially available NZVI (cNZVI) slurry and a freshly synthesized NZVI (sNZVI) suspension that was prepared immediately before addition to the reactors. In both systems, the addition of NZVI increased pH and decreased oxidation/reduction potential compared with unamended control reactors. Biodegradation of a model brewery wastewater was enhanced as indicated by an increase in chemical oxygen demand removal with both sNZVI and cNZVI amendments at all concentrations tested (1.25-5.0 g Fe/L). Methane production increased for all NZVI-amended bioreactors, with a maximum increase of 28% achieved on the addition of 2.5 and 5.0 g/L cNZVI. Addition of bulk zero-valent iron resulted in only a 5% increase in methane, indicating the advantage of using the nanoscale particles. NZVI amendments further improved produced biogas by decreasing the amount of CO2 released from the bioreactor by approximately 58%. Overall, addition of cNZVI proved more beneficial than the sNZVI at equal iron concentrations, due to decreased colloidal stability and larger effective particle size of sNZVI. Although some have reported cytotoxicity of NZVI to anaerobic microorganisms, work presented here suggests that NZVI of a certain particle size and reactivity can serve as an amendment to anaerobic digesters to enhance degradation and increase the value of the produced biogas, yielding a more energy-efficient anaerobic method for wastewater treatment.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Carpenter, AW; Laughton, SN; Wiesner, MR

Published Date

  • January 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 32 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 647 - 655

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1557-9018

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1092-8758

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1089/ees.2014.0560

Citation Source

  • Scopus