Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In the biogas process you often measure Volatile solid and Total solids. Can any one explain these concepts more accurately and why it is interesting to look at these properties.

The biogas process I refer to is a process of fermenting waste food materials and slaugther house waste in to bio fuels, consisting largely of methane. The fermentation is conducted in anaerobic milieu in large plants.

Total solids and Volatile solid are measurements on the sludge the currently fermented waste,(the gooey stuff that is in the bio-reactor).

share|improve this question
Can you elaborate on what the "biogas process" is? – jonsca Oct 22 '12 at 23:03
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Total solids (TS): The part of the sludge that remain after drying at 105C for 20 hours:((weight; dried at 105C)/(weight; wet))*100 = TS (%) Volatile solids (VS): The part of the sludge that is combusted at 550C after 2 hours: ((weight; dried at 105C - weight; dried at 550C)/(weight; dried at 105C))*100 = VS (% of TS)

share|improve this answer

For the definition, see Pelle's answer. For the reasons, both are easy and cheap to measure and can tell you a lot about your material if you have similiar mterial to compare. TS is often used to asses howa material can be handled (pumpable, stackable) In agricultural biogas applications for example, a sometimes used assumption is 1g COD = 1,6 g VS

In AD, VS is broadly associated with digestible biomass, and depending on input one third to one half of VS will be converted to gas. In fact, gas yields are often given per mass of VS because of this.

Note that solutes that are actually volatile, like alcohol, will be evaporated when testing for TS. Laso note that the points give na bove only work if you compare similiar materials.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.