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Aim: To determine the relationship between the volumes of biogas that can be produced using different biomass/water ratios.
Study Design: Biogas was produced by the anaerobic digestion or fermentation of plantain leaves. A practical laboratory scale experimental design was used to find out the effect of biomass/water ratio and retention time on the volume of biogas generated using sun-dried and ground plantain leaves as the feed stock.
Place and Duration of Study: The research was carried out in Chemistry Department, University of Benin City, Nigeria. Study was done between March and June, 2012.
Methodology: Five (5) biodigesters were used for the biogas production with different biomass/water ratios (1:1, 1:2, 1:3, 1:4 and 1:5) and for a 10-day retention period. The average pH and temperature of the biodigesters were 7.80±0.50 and 30.00±20.00C respectively. The biogas produced was characterized using a gas chromatography system 6890 series (and 6890 plus)
Results: Certain amounts of Methane, Nitrogen, and Oxygen were detected in the gas produced. Proximate analysis of the plantain leaves gave the percentage composition by mass of Nitrogen (0.14%), Crude protein (0.91%), Potassium (1.15%), Sodium (0.06%), Phosphorus (0.09%), Calcium (2.00%), Magnessium (0.69%), Sulphate (0.08%), Organic carbon (12.52%), Organic matter (28.00%) and ash content (5.30%).
Conclusion: Using plantain leaves as feed stock, optimum biogas production can be attained using a biomass/water ratio of 1:4, over a ten-day period. But there is need for further work to validate reliability and also reduce the volume of nitrogen in the biogas produced.