The anaerobic digestion of complex organic matter has been used for many decades to generate a useful byproduct (biogas) and to stabilize the organic matter to avoid noxious odors and vector attraction. The control of anaerobic digestors has been one of the process limitations to more widespread use of this technology. SENTRY™ has solved the process monitoring problem with our bioelectric sensor that detects volatile (fatty) acids.
Anaerobic digestion is a capital-intensive process that must be managed carefully to avoid upset conditions. Upsets can be caused by many factors, including poor mixing, inconsistent temperature and organic overloading. These factors lead to increases in the concentration of volatile fatty acids (VFAs) within the reactor. Traditionally, monitoring for VFAs is a time-consuming process, sampling a small percentage of the reactor contents and a lengthy analytical technique.
SENTRY™ sensors are mounted in the recirculation lines of digesters, providing a minute-to-minute signal indicating the health of the microbial population degrading the wastes. By monitoring the health of the anaerobic biomass in real time, the operator avoids complicated off-line monitoring and can optimize the quality and quantity of biogas produced.