Publication Date : 01/02/2010

Author(s) :

Rufai, I. A.

Volume/Issue :
Volume 5
Issue 1
(02 - 2010)

Abstract :

The paper is a study of the discovery of anaerobic digestion and its development from waste treatment to biogas-for-energy production technology. Anaerobic digestion dates back to 4000 BC when the Sumerians discovered the process of fermentation. Anecdotal evidences date the use of biogas back to the 10th century BC when the Assyrians used it for heating bath water. The Persians, also, used biogas for the same purpose during the 16th century. In 1808, Sir Humphry Davy determined that methane was present in the gases pro-duced during the anaerobic digestion of cattle manure. The first biogas digester was built at a leper colony in Bombay, India in 1859. Anaerobic digestion reached England in 1895 when biogas was recovered from a sewage treatment facility and used to fuel street lamps in Exeter. Advances in microbiology led to re-search by Buswell and others in the 1930s to identify anaerobic bacteria and the conditions that promote methane generation. From the 20th century, anaerobic digestion technology has been identified as the most appropriate means of treating and processing agricultural wastes, especially in the area of animal produc-tion, where increased volume of manure and effluents poses an environmental hazard. Anaerobic digestion technology is being integrated into cogeneration (generation of heat and power) and trigeneration (genera-tion of heat, power and cold) systems.

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