Innovative ex-situ biological biogas upgrading using immobilized biomethanation bioreactor (IBBR)

Katie Baransi-Karkaby, Mahdi Hassanin, Sharihan Muhsein, Nedal Massalha, Isam Sabbah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biogas, which typically consists of about 50-70% of methane gas, is produced by anaerobic digestion of organic waste and wastewater. Biogas is considered an important energy resource with much potential; however, its application is low due to its low quality. In this regard, upgrading it to natural gas quality (above 90% methane) will broaden its application. In this research, a novel ex-situ immobilized biomethanation bioreactor (IBBR) was developed for biologically upgrading biogas by reducing CO 2 to CH 4 using hydrogen gas as an electron donor. The developed process is based on immobilized microorganisms within a polymeric matrix enabling the application of high recirculation to increase the hydrogen bioavailability. This generates an increase in the consumption rate of hydrogen and the production rate of methane. This process was successfully demonstrated at laboratory-scale system, where the developed process led to a production of 80-89% methane with consumption of more than 93% of the fed hydrogen. However, a lower methane content was achieved in the bench-scale system, likely as a result of lower hydrogen consumption (63-90%). To conclude, the IBBRs show promising results with a potential for simple and effective biogas upgrading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1319-1328
Number of pages10
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to the Ministry of Environmental Protection for their financial support under project agreement number 142-1-1, and also to the Energy and Water Resources Ministry of Israel for their financial support under project agreement number 215-11-046. The authors also thank Mrs. Elise Manchester for her help in English editing.


  • Biogas upgrading
  • Biological upgrading
  • Biomethanation
  • Ex-situ biogas upgrading
  • Immobilized bioreactor
  • Polyfoam bioreactor
  • Methane
  • Bioreactors
  • Hydrogen
  • Biofuels
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Engineering


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