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Project focuses on developing AD

VTT Technological Research Centre of Finland (VTT) is studying the anaerobic digestion (AD) of organic waste and developing ways to control it.

The AD process can be improved to produce either biogas or volatile fatty acids that can be even more valuable than biogas. The produced volatile fatty acids can be converted further to raw materials which in turn can produce oil-replacing biobased products, such as bioplastics.

During the AD process, which contains four main steps, the organic matter is degraded by bacteria to biogas in the absence of oxygen. Controlling the digestion process is one of the most important ways of making the biogas production process more efficient. The Centre plans to develop a prototype process monitoring and controlling system, which could enable a more efficient control of both volatile fatty acids and biogas production. It could also improve the profitability, efficiency and reliability of the process.
 
The AD process has many positive environmental impacts. After digestion, waste has considerably fewer odour problems, reduced acidity as well as reduced pathogen and pesticides content. Fossil fuels can be compensated by biogas and thus the amount of emissions can be decreased. Also the methane emissions will be decreased, when the methane produced as a disintegration product during AD process will be utilized as energy in a closed process.
 
The total budget of the two-year OPTI-VFA project is €1.15 million, of which the share of VTT is approximately one third. VTT is responsible for the planning, building and calibration of the prototype for monitoring and controlling system. 

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