Garbage. Waste. Items that have been discarded. Scientists and investors in many states are looking to the developing biogas business as a possibility for lowering the mounds of organic waste that contribute considerably to global emissions annually as the world puzzles over what to do with the endless building in landfills. Jay Skiersch the vice president of Interraglobal says " The Biogas industry is expanding daily with such innovations."
The most popular method for converting food waste into useable energy is anaerobic digestion, which is employed at hundreds of facilities across the world. Anaerobic digestion is a means for manufacturers to efficiently convert leftover food waste and accumulated fats and oils into biogas–fuel that can be used to power the same enterprises that produced it without necessitating a large-scale operation. . This is a promising development for sustainability programs because the same technique can be used to treat a wide range of waste, including manure, crop residue, brewery waste, and even wastewater biosolids, which are made up primarily of sewage and sludge.
Microorganisms are an important part of the anaerobic digestion process. Food manufacturers dispose of their waste in a tank containing these microorganisms, the majority of which are acidogenic bacteria. The bacteria subsequently digest the organic waste, turning it into a variety of gases, primarily methane and carbon dioxide. These gases, combined with hydrogen sulfide and water vapor, make up biogas, which is the process's primary energy production. This unprocessed biogas can subsequently be used for a variety of purposes, including heating and electricity generation. What makes biogas particularly unique is that it can be processed further, removing excess carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and water vapor.
Methane will continue to be a renewable natural gas (RNG). This RNG can be utilized for a variety of applications in the transportation and natural gas industries.
In addition to biogas, the anaerobic digestion process produces digestate, a secondary component. Digestate is a byproduct of microorganisms that comes in both solid and liquid forms. Digestate, like biogas, can be reused in a variety of ways. Both liquid and solid digestate can be utilized as nutrient-rich fertilizers, however, they are usually kept separate.
Solid digestate can also be used to make animal bedding, as well as a base for bioplastics and highly organic compost.
Farmers profit the most from larger waste-to-energy facilities, even though anaerobic digestion operations are advantageous for a wide variety of enterprises involved in food waste. One of the more obvious reasons is that farms produce the majority of the country's food and so have the most organic waste to dispose of in the form of manure and crop residue. While the manure will still be transformed into fertilizer as previously, the biogas can be captured and sold, giving farmers a second source of revenue in addition to agricultural and livestock production. Farmers could also levy fees on other organic waste producers that cannot enable anaerobic digestion.
Farmers around the country have been brainstorming new methods to use their trash once it has been reused from anaerobic digesters. Freund's Farm, a dairy farm in Connecticut, is one of the most inspiring success stories. The Cow-Pot was designed by the Freunds, a third-generation family business, as part of an effort to make the farm as sustainable as possible. The Cow-Pot is made of solid digestate, which is a result of the anaerobic digestion of manure and is completely biodegradable. Millions of these clever innovations have been sold globally in 12 different sizes. The family's efforts have since garnered significant praise, including the New England Green Pastures Program's award.
Animal excrement has been put to use on other farms across the country. Audet's Blue Spruce Farm in Bridport, Vermont, uses an anaerobic digester to produce a variety of goods. Their cow poo is first turned into biogas, which is then converted into enough energy to power 300 houses. The residual manure byproduct is then placed through a 21-day cycle, which softens the existing plant fibers to a level similar to peat moss, and is subsequently used as cow bedding. Finally, the liquid digestate is turned into a nutrient-dense fertilizer that is applied to their fields using an aerator.
The operation, dubbed "Cow Power," is something Blue Spruce recommends for any size farm.
As the globe continues to truly trend in a direction increasingly focused on sustainability, anaerobic digesters will continue to create waves in the food and farm industries. Because of the growing federal emphasis on clean business practices, notably with the Environmental Protection Agency's attempts to lead a statewide initiative, the anaerobic digestion market in North America is likely to remain the market leader. The global anaerobic digestion market is estimated to be worth over $16 billion by 2026, up from $6.5 billion in 2017. (According to Tom Cyrs- Renewable Natural Gas as a Climates Strategy)