Model selection, identification and validation in anaerobic digestion: A review

Andres Donoso-Bravo, Johan Mailier, Cristina Martin, Jorge Rodríguez, César Arturo Aceves-Lara, Alain Vande Wouwer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

242 Scopus citations


Anaerobic digestion enables waste (water) treatment and energy production in the form of biogas. The successful implementation of this process has lead to an increasing interest worldwide. However, anaerobic digestion is a complex biological process, where hundreds of microbial populations are involved, and whose start-up and operation are delicate issues. In order to better understand the process dynamics and to optimize the operating conditions, the availability of dynamic models is of paramount importance. Such models have to be inferred from prior knowledge and experimental data collected from real plants. Modeling and parameter identification are vast subjects, offering a realm of approaches and methods, which can be difficult to fully understand by scientists and engineers dedicated to the plant operation and improvements. This review article discusses existing modeling frameworks and methodologies for parameter estimation and model validation in the field of anaerobic digestion processes. The point of view is pragmatic, intentionally focusing on simple but efficient methods.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)5347-5364
Number of pages18
JournalWater Research
Issue number17
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2011


  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Identification
  • Kinetic parameters
  • Modeling
  • Sensitivity analysis


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