As a participant in the BRISK2 project, I had the opportunity to conduct research at the Bioenergy and Biorefinery Unit of National Energy and Geology Laboratory (Unidade de Bioenergia e Bioreffinaria, Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia) in Lisbon, Portugal. The main objective was to assess the potential biogas production by converting the organic fraction of agricultural or industrial wastewater using anaerobic digestion.
BRISK2 project gave me opportunity to work in international environment. Cooperation with experts from another country allowed me to look at the biogas issues in a different way. I found out what problems occur in biogas plants and generally about the renewable energy market in Portugal. The employees of the Bioenergy Unit enthusiastically shared their knowledge. I had access to many interesting articles and books about biomass and biogas.
I had also the opportunity to access completely new substrates such as algae and pomace from olive oil production. According literature biofuels algae-derived are seen as a one of the most promising solution to depleting of fossil fuels and oil reserves. Ground algae Ulva lactuca delivered to the LNEG-UBB was ground again in the disc mill HERZOG, as a physical pre-treatment. According to available research, this will allow better utilization of the energy potential of the substrate. Pomace oil, purified from solids is selected as complementary substrate of algae. It is generated by olive oil production, delivered from factory of Valpaços (North Portugal). Pomace from the olive oil production was diluted with water in proportion 1 pomace:2 water. The production of olive oil generates a considerable amount of effluent that are powerful pollutant and have become a serious environmental problem. Therefore, using this substance, as a complementary substrate ceoncept for biogas production can be a solution for managing this waste. The experiment was performed in an up-flow anerobic hybrid digester. Working with a unique bioreactor allowed me to enhancement of the professional knowledge in the area of biogas production. I had chance to see the entire biogas process, from substrate selection to biogas production.
I am so glad that I had opportunity to be participant BRISK2 program. It was a very productive and inspiring time. I gained new knowledge and had chance to work with talented scientists.