Modelling the anaerobic digestion of solid organic waste -Substrate characterisation method for ADM1 using a combined biochemical and kinetic parameter estimation approach

D Poggio, M Walker, W Nimmo, L Ma, M Pourkashanian

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This work proposes a novel and rigorous substrate characterisation methodology to be used with ADM1 to simulate the anaerobic digestion of solid organic waste. The proposed method uses data from both direct substrate analysis and the methane production from laboratory scale anaerobic digestion experiments and involves assessment of four substrate fractionation models. The models partition the organic matter into a mixture of particulate and soluble fractions with the decision on the most suitable model being made on quality of fit between experimental and simulated data and the uncertainty of the calibrated parameters. The method was tested using samples of domestic green and food waste and using experimental data from both short batch tests and longer semi-continuous trials. The results showed that in general an increased fractionation model complexity led to better fit but with increased uncertainty. When using batch test data the most suitable model for green waste included one particulate and one soluble fraction, whereas for food waste two particulate fractions were needed. With richer semi-continuous datasets, the parameter estimation resulted in less uncertainty therefore allowing the description of the substrate with a more complex model. The resulting substrate characterisations and fractionation models obtained from batch test data, for both waste samples, were used to validate the method using semi-continuous experimental data and showed good prediction of methane production, biogas composition, total and volatile solids, ammonia and alkalinity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-54
Number of pages15
JournalWaste Management
Early online date2 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016



  • Anaerobic digestion
  • ADM1
  • Model inputs
  • Substrate description
  • Food waste
  • Green waste

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