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The Importance of Accurate Dissolved Oxygen Measurement in Anaerobic Digestion

by:BOQU     2023-07-28

The Importance of Accurate Dissolved Oxygen Measurement in Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic digestion is a process where organic materials are converted into biogas, mainly methane and carbon dioxide, in the absence of oxygen. As the name suggests, anaerobic digestion occurs in the absence of oxygen or in an environment where oxygen is scarce. However, the absence of oxygen does not mean that dissolved oxygen measurement is not important. In fact, an accurate dissolved oxygen measurement is vital in anaerobic digestion processes.

What is Dissolved Oxygen?

Dissolved oxygen refers to the amount of oxygen that is dissolved in water, wastewater, or other liquid mediums. It is an essential parameter in many biological processes, including anaerobic digestion. The amount of dissolved oxygen present in a liquid medium can greatly affect the biodegradation rate, the biogas yield, and the treatment efficiency.

The Role of Dissolved Oxygen in Anaerobic Digestion

In anaerobic digestion, dissolved oxygen can play both a positive and negative role. On one hand, dissolved oxygen is essential for maintaining the activity of aerobic bacteria. These aerobic bacteria consume the oxygen that has entered the system and thus prevent any further oxygen from entering. This helps to maintain the anaerobic conditions that are necessary for methane production. However, an excessive amount of oxygen can also disrupt the anaerobic digestion process by killing off the methane-producing bacteria and reducing the efficiency of the system.

On the other hand, oxygen also plays a role in the initial breakdown of organic materials that occurs prior to anaerobic digestion. This is because oxygen is required by hydrolytic bacteria that break down large molecules of organic material into smaller substances that can be further digested by other bacteria. By improving the initial breakdown of organic material, dissolved oxygen can help to increase the efficiency of the overall anaerobic digestion process.

Accurate Dissolved Oxygen Measurement

The accurate measurement of dissolved oxygen is crucial for the efficient operation of anaerobic digestion processes. To achieve maximum efficiency, operators must ensure that the dissolved oxygen levels are at the optimal range for the specific process. If the dissolved oxygen levels are too high, it can lead to the death of anaerobic bacteria. Conversely, if the dissolved oxygen levels are too low, it can reduce the overall efficiency of the system.

Some of the challenges that come with measuring dissolved oxygen in anaerobic digestion include the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas, high salt concentrations, and high levels of organic matter, which can cause fouling of sensors. Therefore, it is important to use the appropriate measurement equipment that has been designed to handle these challenges. This will help to ensure accurate and reliable dissolved oxygen measurements in the demanding anaerobic digestion environment.

Benefits of Accurate Dissolved Oxygen Measurement

Accurate dissolved oxygen measurement can help in several ways. Firstly, it helps to ensure the efficient operation of the anaerobic digestion process, which translates to improved biogas yields and reduced energy costs. Secondly, it can help to identify any potential issues that may be hindering the digestion process. This allows operators to take corrective action before the problem escalates. Thirdly, it can help to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements for limits on dissolved oxygen levels.


Accurate dissolved oxygen measurement is critical in anaerobic digestion processes. The proper measurement and monitoring of dissolved oxygen levels can greatly improve the efficiency of the process, the treatment reliability, and the resulting biogas yield. By working to maintain the optimal range of dissolved oxygen, operators can help to ensure that the anaerobic digestion process occurs as efficiently as possible. Therefore, measuring and monitoring dissolved oxygen should be an integral part of any anaerobic digestion process.

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