Lowell, Ken and others,
Check out these and other resources from the Michigan Biomass Energy Program...
Anaerobic digestion is the decomposition of organic matter in an oxygen free environment, which releases a mixture of mostly methane and carbon dioxide commonly called biogas. Biogas can be used to generate heat and/or electricity. Animal waste from cows, pigs and poultry as well as food processing and municipal solid wastes are examples of the feedstocks that can be utilized in anerobic digesters. Anerobic digesters typically operate at temperature ranging from 95º F to 135º F and can reduce odor problems by 97%. Digesters can also reduce harmful pathogens (such as E-coli and Samonella) by almost 100% when operated at higher temperatures. The three main types of digesters currently utilized are the complete-mix digester, plug-flow digester, and covered lagoon digester.
Energy Crops In Michigan - (9/10) A new discussion paper on energy crops is available from the Michigan Biomass Energy Program. The paper provides basic energy crop information, explores opportunities and constraints for the development and use of energy crops, and discusses crops that could be grown in Michigan. The use of energy crops for power generation is a primary focus of this paper. Access the complete paper -- ENERGY CROPS and Their Potential Development in Michigan (click here).
(Excerpt from WIMS Daily, Septembre 11, 2002)
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----- Original Message -----
From: "Lowell Prag" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 3:03 PM
Subject: More: Re: E-M:/ "what else does one do with manure?"
Enviro-Mich message from Lowell Prag <email@example.com>
> On Mon, 30 Sep 2002, Kenneth Vermeulen wrote:
> > Lowell, I've got several large farming operations that are very
> > interested in putting in a digester/methane collection co-gen
> > facility.
> > Unfortunately, there always seems to be some major obstacle, like
> > sand
> > bedding, or a water discharge permit for the outflow from the solids
> > separator, or the volume of manure necessary to make the project
> > sustainable vs. the market for the compost.
Hello again Ken,
As far as the economics of anaerobic digesters for your manure and other
organic wastes, you not only have to consider the value of the compost
produced but also, the value of the methane produced.
Depending upon the size of your operation, the methane produced could
negate your present costs for heat, electricity, and fuel for your
Any engineer could easily figure out for you, with some basic btu
conversions, the amount and value of your projected methane production.
In addition, if you produced a surplus of electricity with the methane, by
federal law, your utility company must buy it from you. In effect, your
electric meter would run backwards or in some cases, two meters are
installed, one a debit and the other a credit.
In short, we waste a huge amount of methane in the USA, by not recovering
it from not only farm waste but also, all our other combined organic
wastes. Maybe someday it will be a mandated technology when global
warming is really taken seriously.
As for also marketing the compost produced by the anaerobic digesters,
if you are not going to use it all for your own soil, see the Michigan
Recycling Coalition, http://www.michiganrecycles.org/
They provide some in depth statistics on the compost market:
State of Recycling in Michigan
There is also a less comprehensive list at:
Suppliers of Compost Materials for Michigan Residents
For my own gardening needs, I have bought composted cow manure from Lowe's
for about $1.20/40 pound bag which is the best price I've seen. I did
however, stop buying it until the EPA gets the clopyralid herbicide issue
resolved, as it can get into the compost by farmers using it on the forage
That is one major problem with buying bagged compost, as there is no
uniform testing and labeling standards. One would think the composting
industry would push for truth in labeling to gain consumer's confidence
but that hasn't been the case to date.
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