Influences of straw alkaline pretreatment on biogas production and digestate characteristics: artificial neural network and multivariate statistical techniques

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2024 Feb;31(9):13638-13655. doi: 10.1007/s11356-024-31945-7. Epub 2024 Jan 23.


Anaerobic digestion is one of the best options for producing valuable end products (biogas and biofertilizer). The aim of this study was to investigate the influences of thermoalkaline pretreatment of wheat straw on biogas production and digestate characteristics from codigestion with waste-activated sludge. Different alkaline conditions (NaOH, KOH and Na2CO3) and pretreatment durations (1, 3 and 5 h) were used for straw pretreatment. Batch anaerobic codigestion of sludge and pretreated straw was conducted under different pretreatment conditions. A feedforward neural network (FFNN) model, logistic model and statistical analysis were applied to the experimental data to predict biogas and investigate the significance and relationships among the variables. NaOH pretreatment for 5 h showed the best treatment conditions: biogas yield was 6.59 times higher than that without treatment. Moreover, the proportions of total solids, total volatile solids, chemical oxygen demand and microbial count removed reached 63.52%, 74.60%, 78.15% and 82.22%, respectively. The methane content was 67.50%, indicating that the biogas had a high quality. The thermoalkaline pretreatment significantly affected biogas production and digestate characteristics, allowing it to be used as a biofertilizer. Experimental data were successfully modelled for predicting biogas production using the applied models. The R2 values reached 0.985 and 0.999 for the logistic and FFNN models, respectively.

Keywords: Codigestion; Fertilizer; Methane; Modelling; Renewable energy; Sewage sludge; Wheat straw.

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobiosis
  • Biofuels*
  • Bioreactors
  • Methane
  • Sewage*
  • Sodium Hydroxide / chemistry
  • Triticum


  • Biofuels
  • Sewage
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Methane