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Mónica López Velarde Santos
Eusebio Junior Ventura Ramos
José Alberto Rodríguez Morales
Oliver Hensel


Vinasses are a very harmful residue of the alcohol distillation, their discharge into soil and water can cause negative environmental impacts if the appropriate treatments do not take place. Anaerobic digestion has shown to be the best technological and economical method to treat this residue, thus bioenergy can be generated as by-product of this process. Nevertheless, the slow adaptation of the microbial consortium in inoculum (activated sludge) to the substrate (mezcal vinasses) is very important to enhance the efficiency of the biogas and methane production, as well as organic matter removal. In this work, the adaptation process of the anaerobic digestion of mezcal vinasses was carried out in a 30-day period. Inoculum (activates sludge) and vinasses were mixed initially at the ratio 7:3. The feeding steps were done every seven days replacing 30 % of the total volume with new vinasses. Biogas was quantified and qualified. Biogas production reached 217 L/kgVSvinassesgenerating a daily methane content between 50 and 55 % by the end of the adaptation period. The organic matter removal efficiency was almost seven times higher at the end of the adaptation, in comparison to the beginning. This suggests that a slow adaptation process enhance the organic matter removal and eventually other pollutants in vinasses. When comparing this results with the literature, biogas and methane production were similar, nevertheless the anaerobic digestion could be optimized, in order to increase the methane content in biogas and the removal rate of organic matter.


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Mónica López Velarde Santos, Kassel University

Ms. López Velarde studied her Bachelor Degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico. She worked for almost 4 years as engineer for the German industry and studied her Master Degree in Mechanical Engineering in Germany at the Technical University Cologne, where she conducted several projects on the fields of renewable energies. For more than 2 years, she worked at the same University at the Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Renewable Energies as a research associate. She coached projects related to the anaerobic digestion of agricultural and municipal wastes developing different research activities. Since October 2012 Ms. López Velarde has been Ph.D. student at the University of Kassel, working at the Department of Agricultural Engineering on the energetic use and treatment of organic agricultural residues through anaerobic digestion and microbial fuel cells.

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