Inducing plasma in biomass could make biogas easier to produce

Inducing plasma in biomass could make biogas easier to produce
The plasma chamber in the experimental reactor setup, where 2-kilowatt microwave pulses are applied to a model stand-in for biomass, a recirculating carboxymethyl cellulose solution. Plasma induction in the material resulted in reduced viscosity, and the authors suspect it may break the polymer chain in lignocellulose. Credit: B. Honnorat, V. Brüser, and J.F. Kolb

Producing biogas from the bacterial breakdown of biomass presents options for a greener energy future, but the complex composition of biomass comes with a long list of challenges.


Cellulose and woody lignocellulose in biomass are especially hard for bacteria to digest, making the process inefficient. Chemical, physical, or mechanical processes, or several of them combined, can be used for pretreatment to make biomass easier to digest, but many of the current solutions are expensive or inefficient or rely on corrosive chemicals.

In research supported by the European Regional Development Fund, published in AIP Advances, researchers

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