A cold climate, low cost, tubular digester is monitored and temperatures from different parts of the slurry, greenhouse, and adobe walls are presented, discussing the thermal performance of the digester. The slurry exhibits a vertical gradient of 6 °C, with a mean value of 24.5 °C, while the ambient temperature varies from 10 °C to 30 °C, showing the efficiency of the system as a solar heat collector with thermal inertia. A simple time-dependent thermal model is developed using inputs of solar radiation, wind velocity, ambient temperature, and digester geometry. The model outputs include temperatures of the slurry, the biogas, its holding membrane and the greenhouse air, wall and cover. Radiative, convective and conductive heat transfer phenomena are considered between all system elements. The model has 0.47 °C (2%) standard error for the average slurry temperature. This model can be used to predict the influence of geometry and materials on the performance of the digester.

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Published on 01/01/2012

DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2012.08.019
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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