Faculty Advisor

Timko, Michael T.


This experiment analyzed the effect of ultrasonic pretreatment on anaerobic digestion of barley bagasse. Anaerobic digestion is the breakdown of substrates by microorganisms without oxygen, resulting in the production of biogas to be used as an energy source. This process can be enhanced with pretreatment methods. The experiment determined differences in the anaerobic digestion of untreated and pretreated barley bagasse over 50-days. Differences between the experiments were defined by daily characterizations of the biogas and the digestate. The pretreated reactor yielded a daily average of 164 mL of biogas with a 55% CH4 composition. Sonication parameters must be optimized for the system to be an energy-efficient pretreatment method. The control reactor data will be ready in June.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2019


Chemical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering