Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering

Degree Level



Biological and Agricultural Engineering


Zhang, Wen

Committee Member/Reader

Haggard, Brian

Committee Member/Second Reader

Zhu, Jun

Committee Member/Third Reader

Costello, Thomas


The disposal of poultry litter can exert an economic and environmental burden to the agriculture community. As a result, it is desirable to reduce the amount of waste and recover resources from the waste. This study focuses on the construction and preliminary testing of a laboratory scale (20 L) solid state anaerobic digester (AD) fed with dry poultry litter. Glucose was added in addition to the poultry litter to achieve the appropriate C:N ratio to support the growth of anaerobic microorganisms. The AD was first fed every 4 days at 4 g VS/L/feeding for 24 days, rested (no feeding) for 32 days, and then at 8 g VS/L/feeding every 4 days for 24 days, followed with 33 days of no feeding. During the experiment the following parameters were measured: total solids (TS), volatile solids (VS), total nitrogen (TN), total carbon (TC), chemical oxygen demand (COD), pH, and biogas yield and composition. Throughout the experiment, as the litter accumulated in the AD, TS, VS, TC, TN, and COD all increased gradually. pH however showed a dramatic decrease to 5.2, which is likely the main reason for the low biogas yield and near zero CH4 production. It is recommended to closely monitor pH and buffer it to a near neutral range to sustain the growth of methanogens.


digester, poultry, litter, methane