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Biomethane Potential Test Laboratory Procedures and Services

Appointing a Biomethane Potential Test Laboratory for any proposed biogas plant feedstock is an important early step in an anaerobic digestion plant project. In this article, we discuss the biomethane potential (BMP) test, which is a biological test to evaluate the potential methane/biogas volume generated from a feedstock. The biogas produced using the standard biogas test protocols is measured and converted to units of ml gas/gram VS (Volatile Solids) substrate at standard conditions for temperature and pressure (STP). Read on to find out more:

Analysis of Biomethane Potential (BMP)

Production of biogas from many different organic (mostly waste) materials are a feature of the biogas industry and the availability of a wide range of feed material is a major reason that many facilities are able to run their plants using this interesting source of renewable energy. The biomethane potential (BMP) of these organic materials has to be determined to get insight into the necessary design parameters for anaerobic digesters. This test is also essential to confirm assumed biogas yield estimates based upon text-book data. The viability of many a biogas project has depended on these early tests.

The data from biomethane potential tests must satisfy the highest demands for data accuracy and precision with regards to methane potential (biomethane potential) testing and anaerobic toxicity assays. It is used to assess whether biogas yield will be enough for a plant to go-ahead for new AD projects. For existing AD operators these tests are used to base decisions on whether or not to accept novel incoming feedstock streams.

For that reason, we advise the users of these services to choose a leading supplier of analysis to the biogas industry, with all relevant quality of service accreditations by the relevant third-party assessors.

Featured image text: "Biomethane Potential Test Laboratory Services".

Some Biomethane Potential Test Laboratories will also provide routine plant monitoring of substrate and digestate samples completed on the day of receipt of the sample. Always, check the turn-round periods with the lab before ordering a test, if a rapid service is needed.

“The world today is in a constant quest to generate clean energy which would considerably reduce the emission of greenhouse gas (GHG) for better living conditions. Engaging a Biomethane Potential Test Laboratory is an important step in discovering whether any particular biomass source will provide a good biogas process feedstock.”

Towards a standardization of biomethane potential tests

Biomethane potential (BMP) tests, although routinely applied to measure the ultimate methane production from different organic materials, both liquid and solid, are far from being trivial. Several norms aimed at standardization of BMP tests such as DIN 38414 tl8 (1985), ASTM d 5210 (1992), ASTM d 5511 (1994), ISO 11734 (1995), ISO 14853 (1998), and ISO 15985 (2004), have existed for many years, but their formulation of important parameters is often insufficiently specific.

Biomethane Potential Test Laboratory Procedures

Individual organisations have their own methods, so it is always important to discuss detailed use of and interpretation of the protocols to be used on specific samples and to explain the intended use of the data to the lab in advance.

Compulsory elements for the validation of BMP test results

When considering appointing a new lab we recommend discussing the application of industry-standard compulsory elements for the validation of BMP test results.

Multiple national and international inter-laboratory studies have shown rather a low reproducibility in measurement of biochemical methane potential (BMP), with differences for the same substrate exceeding a factor of two in some cases (Raposo et al).

Biomethane Potential Test Laboratory (BMP) Testing

Biomethane Potential Test Laboratory tests may be performed on several existing feedstocks to provide a means of cross-calibration with an AD plant owner's current feedstock results. Comparative testing of Biomethane Potential may at times show a quite wide difference between the lab derived biogas yield potential of a test, in comparison with that achieved in the full-scale plant.

Defining the biomethane potential (BMP) of solid organic wastes and energy crops: a proposed protocol for batch assays

A proposed protocol for batch assays has been offered by researchers Angelidaki, i., Alves, M., Bolzonella, D., Borzacconi, l., Campos, j. L.  Guwy, a. J., et al. (2009). In their paper on: “Defining the biomethane potential (BMP) of solid organic wastes and energy crops: a proposed protocol for batch assays”.

Evaluation of the biomethane potential from multiple waste streams for a proposed community-scale anaerobic digester

This paper examines the biomethane potential from organic waste for a proposed community-scale anaerobic digester in a rural town. The biomethane potential test is used to assess the suitability of waste streams for biomethane production and to examine the variation in biomethane potential between waste sub-streams.

Special Issue “Biomethane Potential Tests – A Key Tool for Anaerobic Digestion Research and Practice”

A multi-channel analyzer was used to evaluate the biogas potential of sugarcane bagasse (SCB). The automatic methane potential test system contained fifteen parallel reactors and the same number of gas flow meters attached to the acquisition system.

The BMP test is commonly the first stage of assessment and comprises of a batch-test in-which a known quantity of feedstock is added to a seed digestate from a suitable AD process and the cumulative methane production is recorded over a 14 day test period.

1kg or 1L of feedstock is most often required for the testing.

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