Perspectives of surface plasmon resonance sensors for optimized biogas methanation
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEngineering in Life Sciences. 2019, 19 (11), 759-769. 10.1002/elsc.201900063
Biogas production is becoming significantly viable as an energy source for replacing fossil‐based fuels. The further development of the biogas production process could lead to significant improvements in its potential. Wastewater treatment currently accounts for 3% of the electrical energy load in developed countries, while it could be developed to provide a source of nitrogen and phosphorus, in addition to energy. The improvement of anaerobic digestion (AD) detection technologies is the cornerstone to reach higher methane productivities and develop fully automatized processes to decrease operational costs. New sensors are requested to automatically obtain a better interpretation of the complex and dynamical internal reactor environment. This will require detailed systematic detection in order to realize a near‐optimal production process. In this review, optical fiber‐based sensors will be discussed to assess their potential for use in AD. There is currently a disparity between the complexity of AD, and online detection. By improving the durability, sensitivity, and cost of dissolved H2 (as well as H2S, acetic acid, ammonia, and methane) sensor technology, further understanding of the AD process may allow the prevention of process failure. The emergence of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensing with optical fibers coupled with the H2‐sensitive metal palladium, allows detection of dissolved hydrogen in liquid. By implementing these SPR sensors into AD, improvements to the biogas production process, even at small scales, may be achieved by guiding the process in the optimum direction, avoiding the collapse of the biological process. This review intends to assess the feasibility of online, cost‐effective, rapid, and efficient detection of dissolved H2, as well as briefly assessing H2S, acetic acid, ammonia, and methane in AD by SPR.