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Routine Analytics

As an independent university research institute, we can offer the following analyses:


The healthy development of microorganisms is very closely linked to an optimal pH. The enzyme activity – the basis for metabolism in the biogas fermenter – is strongly dependent on pH.

Analytical method: DIN EN 12176 S5

Volatile Fatty Acids (VFA)

Volatile fatty acids are carboxylic acids with a chain length of two to five carbons (acetic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid, isobutyric acid, valeric acid, isovaleric acid). These acids are produced during the degradation processes in the biogas reactor. In a stable anaerobic digestion process, the rate of acid production and acid degradation is in equilibrium. If the acid production rate becomes higher than the degradation capacity of the microorganisms, the level of VFA increases which in turn inhibits the methane microorganisms.

As this analysis is essential for a timely and adequate reaction in case of process instability, we guarantee a fast delivery of your analysis results.

If we receive the samples at the latest by Thursday at midday, we will provide your VFA results by e-mail until Friday 6 p.m.

Analytical method: DIN 38414-19

Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN) and Ammonium Nitrogen (NH4-N)

The nitrogen in the substrate is mainly bound in the protein. During anaerobic digestion, around two thirds of this nitrogen is converted to ammonium nitrogen, which is dissolved in the digestate. Under the strong influences of pH and temperature, the equilibrium between ammonium and ammonia can be altered to yield more ammonia, which is toxic to microorganisms at high concentrations.

Analytical method: DIN EN 25663 H11

Total Solids (TS) or Dry Matter (DM) and Volatile Solids (VS) or Organic Dry Matter (ODM)

Dry matter and organic dry matter content are important parameters to characterise substrates. The ODM content, like the chemical oxygen demand (COD), is linked to the biochemical methane potential (BMP). For this reason, BMP results are usually given in relation to the fresh weight, ODM or COD.

With increasing DM, considerable problems can arise with mixing in the reactor.

On the other hand, too low DM content can encourage the formation of floating layers or sediments. It is recommended to keep the DM content in the range appropriate for the mixing system installed in the reactor.

Analytical methods: DIN 38 409 - H1 - 1
DIN 38 409 - H1 - 3

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)

The chemical oxygen demand is a parameter from the field of wastewater treatment. The COD represents all substances that can be oxidised, and this can be used to calculate the methane potential of substrates.

Analytical method: DIN 38 409 - H41, ÖNORM M 6265

Biochemical Methane Potential (BMP, Batch Test)

The biochemical methane potential test is used to demine the potential energy content and the degradation rate of a given substrate. This analysis is particularly important in the planning phase, for example to build a reactor of the right size. The determination of the BMP is also important for quality control or when looking for or validating new substrates. We start the batch tests every Tuesday.

Analytical methods: DIN 38 414-S8 and VDI 4630 (modified form, results in NL CH4/kg oTS, NL CH4/kg FW and NL CH4/kg COD, incl. DM, ODM, COD, TKN and report)

Nutrient and Hygienic Analysis of Biogas Sludge and Digestate

We offer nutrient analysis for digestate for agricultural and waste or municipal biogas plants. The aim of this investigation is to observe N, P, K, heavy metals, Salmonella or Enterobacter limits set by the fertiliser law (Düngemittelverordung or EC 1774/2002). This analysis is typically carried out in spring or autumn, before the digestate is spread on fields.
Legal basis: BGBl. No. 100/2004 (Düngemittelverordnung) and its amending acts
Regulation (EC) 1774/2002 on health rules concerning animal by-products not intended for human consumption and its amending acts

Trace Element Analysis and Sequential Trace Element Extraction

Micronutrients such as nickel, cobalt and zinc as well as several other elements are essential for the functioning of microbial cells. Many enzymes, particularly those responsible for methane production, carry a metal ion or metal-associated co-factor in their centre that is essential for their catalytic activity. Trace elements are essential micronutrients and are therefore essential for the growth and degradation activity of microbial biomass in the reactor.

Analytical method: Can bioavailability of trace nutrients be measured in a biogas process? (Poster)

Quality, reliability and comparability with others are very important to us. For this reason we take part in interlaboratory tests for biogas specialist laboratories, e.g. ADRIL (Anaerobic Digestion Research Interlaboratory Project).

For price offers please contact:

Ludek Kamarad or Wolfgang Gabauer

Further information concerning the topic "Process monitoring in biogas plants" you can find in this publication.

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