Anaerobic digestion and alkaline hydrolysis for the biosecure disposal of poultry carcass mortalities and renewable energy production
This thesis investigates the use of anaerobic digestion (AD) and alkaline hydrolysis (AH) in order to manage poultry mortalities and quantify the methane potential of the carcasses when anaerobically digested. Digestion trials were split into laboratory and pilot-scale experiments using mesophilic (38°C) benchtop reactors and retrofitted 60 L barrels using two operating temperatures and three loading rates. Laboratory scale trials showed that biogas production varied with chicken age/size, while the pilot scale trials demonstrated high methane production, with > 80% whole carcass reduction. In a similar study, AH with a composite of 3 different molarities of potassium hydroxide at ambient temperature and pressure was explored as a disposal method for whole broiler chicken carcasses. All AH treatments solubilized broiler carcasses within 20 days. A biological neutralization treatment using corn silage was employed which effectively neutralized (pH 7-8) the hydrolysate and showed high methane potential when anaerobically digested in benchtop reactors.