Lightweight, efficient and economical: the plant developed in Sweden travels the world in search of new uses.

It looks like a huge inflatable mattress, but inside it is full of life, the same that is used for convert organic waste into animal feed or fuel. We are talking about the textile bioreactor designed in Sweden by the University of Borås and FOV, a textile company.

Today, most bioreactors are fixed systems made of stainless steel, glass or concrete. But researcher Mohammad Taherzadeh and FOV business developer Fredrik Johansson wanted something different and innovative.

We thought, why not a textile bioreactor? We were convinced that there were some interesting advantages, such as ease of transportTaherzadeh explains. “In our field of research we are experts in fermentation processes for the production of biogas and bioethanol, while FOV specializes in technical textiles, so we have combined our experience. “

The meeting led to a research collaboration which produced in 2014 the first prototype of a textile bioreactor: a simple polyamide pyramid with two openings. In just a few short years, the design has been improved and tested in various research projects around the world, starting with produce biogas from food waste and then manure.

The researchers fed the device with different types of organic waste and tested different mixtures to achieve the best possible biogas production. They also tested reactors of different sizes to achieve the desired technical characteristics.

Our reactors are made from sophisticated polymer and textile materials. The fabric cover makes it resistant to gases and chemicalsTaherzadeh added. “They can be used wherever there is biodegradable waste, for example in the food industry, agriculture or wastewater treatment, in small or large factories. “

In countries with a tropical climate, the wet anaerobic digestion process works well because the reactor material is filled with mixtures with water to form an aqueous slurry and there is no need to add heat. The same process works less well in cold weather, as the bacteria in the reactor freeze and die. That is why the group is studying a method of dry digestion, in which the amount of liquid is reduced at the same time as the insulation is improved. “Our lab tests look promising and we’re ready to do them on a large scale.

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