Value Proposition of Untapped Wet Wastes: Carboxylic Acid Production through Anaerobic Digestion

Arpit H. Bhatt, Zhiyong (Jason) Ren, Ling Tao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Although traditional anaerobic digestion (AD) process to produce methane-rich biogas from wet waste is deep-rooted, high carbon footprint and its low value as compared with other renewable sources demand advanced strategies to avoid its production. An emerging conversion pathway to arrest methanogenesis for producing value-added fuels and chemicals instead of biogas is sought as a sustainable alternative. This research provides a comprehensive analysis on current technology development, process challenges, applications, and economics for producing high-value short-chain carboxylic acids from AD of wet wastes. We show that (1) the theoretical energy yields of acids equal or exceed biogas, and (2) the cost of these acids is competitive with those produced from chemical markets, making this economically viable for mass production. With global abundance of wet waste feedstocks, this process of short-chain acid production provides a promising alternative to conventional biogas production technology, while achieving waste management and carbon mitigation goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101221
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 26 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Energy Resources
  • Energy Sustainability
  • Environmental Chemistry


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