Anaerobic Digestion and Bio-Gas Top

Anaerobic digesters convert the energy stored in organic materials present in manure into biogas.  Biogas can be fed directly into a gas-fired combustion turbine.  The type of turbine most often used for small-scale electricity production is the microturbine.  Combustion of biogas converts the energy stored in the bonds of the molecules of the methane contained in the biogas into mechanical energy as it spins a turbine.  The mechanical energy produced by biogas combustion in an engine or microturbine spins a turbine that produces a stream of electrons, or, electricity.  In addition, waste heat from these engines can provide heating or hot water for use on farm.

As a fuel, biogas composed of 65% methane yields about 650 Btu per cubic foot.  Often used when designing systems for the anaerobic digestion of manure, these energy estimates can predict the amount of power production per animal.  General estimates predict one kilowatt of electricity production requires five to eight dairy cows.

The MREC and the WI DATCP -- Department of Ag., Trade and Consumer Projection -- Wisconsin Biogas Development Group have assembled the following list of current resources on the topic of anaerobic digestion. Choose from the menu below or scroll manually.  If you have other links, or if you have articles that would be of interest to our readers, please forward them to the editor.

MREC Conference Presentations on Anaerobic Digestion and Bio-Gas

Anaerobic Digester Basics

Uses for Biogas other than Electricity Production

Financial Assistance & Economics of Using Anaerobic Digesters

Farmers' Digester Experience

Anaerobic Digester Studies

Organizations that Support Anaerobic Digestion Endeavors/strong>

  • International
    • Anaerobic Digestion Network, AD-NETT is a network of professionals working in anaerobic digestion of agro-industrial wastes in Europe and Canada. Its prime motive is to enable exchange of information and experience, and to disseminate this information to relevant organisations, such as potential users and developers.  [Note: Their Web site previous had URL to the following reports:
      • Economics of anaerobic digestion of agricultural waste
      • Environmental Aspects of Biogas Technology
      • Legislation in different European countries regarding implementation of anaerobic digestion
      • Hygienic and sanitation requirements in biogas plants treating animal manures or mixtures of manures and other organic wastes
      • Process Design of Agricultural Digestors
      • 13 Country Reports of Status of Anaerobic Digestion Activities ]
    • Renewable Energy Association , British BioGen has merged with the Renewable Energy Association. BioGen was the trade association to the United Kingdom's bioenergy industry, and now as the REA, programs for other renewable energy resources are available. The REA’s main objective is to secure the best legislative and regulatory framework for expanding renewable energy production in the UK. The site also has a number of "Resource Groups", some looking at individual renewable energy technologies, others focussed on sub-sectors of the industry.

Introduction to the Wisconsin Biogas Development Group

The Wisconsin Biogas Development Group was formed to bring focus to the concept of the utilization of manure, particularly from Wisconsin's dairy farms, for the production of methane to produce electricity or heat. Potentially, electricity from manure could add to the financial bottom line for farmers or at least offset manure management expenses. It could also become a factor contributing to the State's reduction in our reliance on imported energy. The group, while spearheaded by representatives of several state agencies, has benefited immeasurably from routine participation by dairy farmers, engineers, electric utility representatives, communications professionals, consultants and others.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) currently hosts the group. If you would like to be added to the distribution list of this group, please contact Roger Kasper.

WBDG Meeting Presentations

Speaker (w/ e-mail address)
Topic (w/slide presentation)
Oct. 31, 2002 Bob Cropp, UW- Madison Wisconsin Dairy: Milk Prices; Farm Structure
Oct. 31, 2002 Joe Kramer, Resource Strategies, Inc. Great Lakes Regional Biomass Energy Program Agricultural Casebook -- Summary of Findings
April 17, 2003 Thomas Bauman, WI Dept. of Natural Resources Revisions to Federal Regulations for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
Apr. 17, 2003 Brian Holmes, UW- Madison Odor Basics: What Stinks and Why
Sept. 11, 2003 Thomas Bachman, TTriad Engineering, Inc. Theromphilic Anaerobic Digestion with Ultrafilterd Pilot Study