Penn State Digester Projects

Renewed attention is now being directed to biogas generation as a source of fuel in the U.S.A.

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Renewed attention is now being directed to biogas generation as a source of fuel in the U.S.A. Bulletin 827. November 1979.

Controlled anaerobic, or oxygen-free, digestion of animal manure is a way to treat manure to prevent foul odor production while generating a usable energy product.

As more non-farm residents move into rural areas, and more animal facilities continue to expand, odor complaints are increasing. As these manure odors become a larger concern on Pennsylvania farms there is a renewed interest in anaerobic digestion.

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Biogas brochure from the 2006 Clean Energy Expo.

Proper care and maintenance of the generator engine will ensure many years of trouble free use.

An anaerobic digester will partially convert manure to energy in the form of biogas which contains methane.

Manure is a biologically active material, alive with bacteria and other microorganisms that depend on the energy contained in manure. The use of manure energy by microorganisms—microbial activity—is a natural process of decomposition.

Many families in the People's Republic of China produce and utilize biogas for cooking meals, lighting their homes and even crop protection and storage.

Anaerobic digestion of animal manure results in biogas and a liquefied, low-odor effluent (processed manure). In certain situations, it can be a cost effective, environment- and neighborhood-friendly treatment for manure and liquid waste.

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Presentation from the 2005 Animal Waste Management Symposium.

Pennsylvania has the distinction of having four of the oldest, continuously operating farm based anaerobic digesters in the country. These four digesters (two dairy, one poultry and one swine farm) have the combined operating experience of 99 years. Anaerobic digesters are not new technology; to the contrary, digesters have been around for hundreds of years. The recent resurgence of digesters in early 2000 is driven by energy costs and these newer plants are installed mainly for electrical power production. A digester also brings the added benefits of manure odor reduction and pathogen destruction of the land applied nutrient rich effluent. A total of 16 on-farm Pennsylvania digesters are operating as of April 2008, with ten more in the design, construction or planning phase. Unique features and descriptions of operating systems with selected case studies are presented.

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Paper presented at the July 2008 ASABE Annual Conference.

Microsoft PowerPoint, 1.4 MB

Powerpoint presentation presented at the July 2008 ASABE Annual Conference.

This fact sheet will explain the fate of the major nutrients in dairy manure plus Johne’s and pathogens as they pass through an anaerobic digester.