Towards a standardization of biomethane potential tests
Production of biogas from different organic materials is a most interesting source of renewable energy. The biomethane potential (BMP) of these materials has to be determined to get insight in design parameters for anaerobic digesters. Although several norms and guidelines for BMP tests exist, inter-laboratory tests regularly still show high variability of BMPs for the same substrate. A workshop was held in June 2015, in Leysin, Switzerland, with over 40 attendees from 30 laboratories around the world, to agree on common solutions to the conundrum of inconsistent BMP test results. This paper presents the consensus of the intense roundtable discussions and cross-comparison of methodologies used in respective laboratories. Compulsory elements for the validation of BMP results were defined. They include the minimal number of replicates, the request to carry out blank and positive control assays, a criterion for the test duration, details on BMP calculation, and last but not least criteria for rejection of the BMP tests. Finally, recommendations on items that strongly influence the outcome of BMP tests such as inoculum characteristics, substrate preparation, test setup, and data analysis are presented to increase the probability of obtaining validated and reproducible results.