In order to increase the efficiency of biogas plants, it is necessary to rapidly identify process imbalances, which can lead to increasing hydrogen partial pressures, the accumulation of volatile fatty acids (VFA) and an acidification resulting in the inhibition of acetogenesis and methanogenesis.
To control the hydrogen partial pressure and the VFA concentrations, an anode will be installed into the biogas fermenter. Anode reducing organisms will consume VFA and hydrogen concentrations controlled via the applied potential. VFA concentrations are monitored with a biosensor, consisting of an engineered strain of Shewanella oneidensis MtrFAB and a microfluidic bioelectrochemical chip setup (collaboration with the group of Dr. Henkel at IPHT Jena; www.ipht-jenda.de). The biosensor responds with an electrical signal, that is proportional to the analyte concentration in the reactor.
Researcher: Sibylle Bartsch