Comparison of pretreatment methods that enhance biomethane production from crop residues - a systematic review

Document Type: Review Paper


1 Chinhoyi University of Technology, P. Bag 7724, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe.

2 Bindura University of Science Education, P. Bag 1020, Bindura, Zimbabwe.


A systematic literature review was conducted to compare the efficacy of biological, chemical, physical, and combined pretreatments in enhancing biomethane production from crop residues (CR). Three electronic databases viz., Science Direct, EBSCOhost, and PubMed were used to identify the studies in literature. The pretreatment methods were compared in terms of their advantages and disadvantages with reference to techno-economic aspects. The techno-economic aspects considered included rate of hydrolysis, energy use, effectiveness, cost, and formation of toxic compounds. A total of 3167 studies, covering the period 2014 - 2018, were screened for relevance to the study. Forty-four records (n=44) consisting of 36 research papers (n=36) and eight narrative reviews (n=8) met the inclusion criteria. The results show that physical and chemical methods are the most effective and fastest. These methods have limited utility due to high cost of resources, operation, and energy as well as formation of inhibitory by-products. Despite generation of toxic compounds, combined methods are regarded as fast and costeffective. Biological method is inexpensive, eco-friendly, and low energy-consuming. However, it is a nascent technology that is still developing. A combination of trends in research and development provide the best pretreatment alternative to improve the biomethane production from CR.

Graphical Abstract

Comparison of pretreatment methods that enhance biomethane production from crop residues - a systematic review


  • Efficacy of biological, chemical, physical and combined pretreatments in enhancing biomethane production from crop residues compared.
  • Physical and chemical pre-treatment methods are the most effective and fastest.
  • Disadvantages of physical and chemical pretreatments are high cost of resources, operation and energy as well as formation of inhibitory byproducts.
  • Combined pretreatment processes are fast and cost effective but have limited utility due to generation of toxic compounds.
  • Biological pretreatment is inexpensive, eco-friendly and low energy- consuming process.


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