WATER HYACINTH TO BIOGAS: A REVIEWVISVA BHARATI BARUA AND AJAY S. KALAMDHAD
Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is considered to be the worst floating aquatic weed, almost covering the six continents of the world, i.e., South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, North America and Europe. This noxious aquatic weed has the miraculous capability of doubling up their population in two weeks. Thus, water hyacinth crowds up any fresh water body by forming thick compact mats and concealing the entire aquatic body. This inexhaustible growth rate of water hyacinth threatens the whole aquatic ecosystem and hinders some of the day to day human activities; thereby making itself obligatory to be controlled. Therefore, the necessity to control this lignocellulosic weed, throws light on anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion is the process where microorganisms break down organic material in the absence of oxygen producing biogas. This process is considered to be the unsurpassed route for transforming waste to energy. The production of bioenergy from WH can be the solution, both to its control and production of renewable source of energy; as there is a never ending rise in demand for fossil fuel. But, the slightest presence of lignin, the headstrong compound in the weeds cell wall, limits the production of biogas. Pretreatment of the noxious weed before being introduced into an anaerobic reactor and the addition of inoculum enhances the biogas production. This paper presents a comprehensive review on the potential utilization of water hyacinth for biogas production emphasizing the pretreatment methods, inoculum and the reactors that have been used till date for biogas production from water hyacinth.
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