Anaerobic Methane Digester

Anaerobic Methane Digester

Alternative Energy Projects

Anaerobic digestion can minimize odor, generate biogas, and allow more effective nutrient use by crops. To realize the potential energy, environmental, and cost saving benefits of anaerobic digestion, farmers need information to evaluate the energy, labor, land, and equipment costs.

The anaerobic digester project at Morrisville State College involves the design and construction of a hardtop plug-flow digester. The digester biologically treats dairy manure and other organic waste generated on campus to produce a stable effluent with improved physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. In the system, biogas (about 60% methane) is produced, captured, and combusted to generate heat and power using a 50 kW engine/generator set. A boiler that runs on either biogas or propane is also used to heat water during the startup phase of the system and anytime the engine generator set is not running.

The methane digester system at Morrisville State College was designed by David Palmer. It is sized to treat manure from around 400 milking cows and generate about 350,000 kWh per year from the recovered biogas. The project was funded by NYSERDA and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, with additional support through U.S. Representative John McHugh, and from the U.S. Dept. of Energy Office in Golden, Colorado.

The digester project at Morrisville State College is generating data on the effectiveness of an internal combustion engine for converting biogas to energy; allows the tracking and evaluating of project data, costs, and benefits; and is being used in Morrisville State College's academic programs to transfer information to others considering anaerobic digestion systems.

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