In the anaerobic digestion of lignocellulosic materials such as waste paper, the accessibility of microorganisms to the fermentable sugars is restricted by their complex structure. A mechanical pretreatment with a Hollander beater was assessed in order to reduce the biomass particle size and to increase the feedstock’ specific surface area available to the microorganisms, and therefore improve the biogas yield. Pretreatment of paper waste for 60 min improves the methane yield by 21%, from a value of 210 ml/gVS corresponding to untreated paper waste to 254 ml/gVS. 30 min pretreatment have no significant effect on the methane yield. A response surface methodology was used to evaluate the effect of the beating time and feedstock/inoculum ratio on the methane yield. An optimum methane yield of 253 ml/gVS was achieved at 55 min of beating pretreatment and a F/I ratio of 0.3.
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