A state-of-the-art review on the application of nanomaterials for enhancing biogas production

Mona Dehhaghi, Meisam Tabatabaei*, Mortaza Aghbashlo, Hamed Kazemi Shariat Panahi, Abdul Sattar Nizami

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


Anaerobic digestion (AD) of organic wastes is among the most promising approaches used for the simultaneous treatment of various waste streams, environment conservation, and renewable bioenergy generation (biomethane). Among the latest innovations investigated to enhance the overall performance of this process both qualitatively and quantitatively, the application of some nanoparticles (NPs) has attracted a great deal of attention. Typically, the NPs of potential benefit to the AD process could be divided into three groups: (i) zero-valent iron (ZVI) NPs, (ii) metallic and metal oxides NPs, and (iii) carbon-based NPs. The present review focuses on the latest findings reported on the application of these NPs in AD process and presents their various mechanisms of action leading to higher or lower biogas production rates. Among the NPs studies, ZVI NPs could be regarded as the most promising nanomaterials for enhancing biogas production through stabilizing the AD process as well as by stimulating the growth of beneficial microorganisms to the AD process and the enzymes involved. Future research should focus on various attributes of NPs when used as additives in biogas production, including facilitating mixing and pumping operations, enriching the population and diversity of beneficial microorganisms for AD, improving biogas release, and inducing the production and activity of AD-related enzymes. The higher volume of methane-enriched biogas would be translated into higher returns on investment and could therefore, result in further growth of the biogas production industry. Nevertheless, efforts should be devoted to decreasing the price of NPs so that the enhanced biogas and methane production (by over 90%, compared to control) would be more economically justified, facilitating the large-scale application of these compounds. In addition to economic considerations, environmental issues are also regarded as major constraints which should be addressed prior to widespread implementation of NP-augmented AD processes. More specifically, the fate of NPs augmented in AD process should be scrutinized to ensure maximal beneficial impacts while adverse environmental/health consequences are minimized.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109597
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Anaerobic digestion (AD)
  • Biogas
  • Mechanism of action
  • Nanoparticle
  • Techno-economic analysis
  • Zero-valent iron (ZVI)
  • Microorganisms
  • Renewable energy
  • Waste to energy
  • Environmental management


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