Anaerobic Digestion and Methane Gas Capture

As materials decompose or ferment, certain gases are emitted. Methane is a gas that is created during the decomposition process. Methane can be "captured" and used to produce energy by burning the gas in many different ways. However, the gas is typically captured by funnels or covers that encase city landfills or sewage and lagoon systems.

The gas can also be used to produce steam, which can run certain processes in a manufacturing plant that need pressure, like compressors in a paper mill. However, pressurized steam can only be transported in short distances, because the water vapor cools quickly and turns into liquid, thus losing the pressurized quality needed to produce energy.

Useful Links

Current Projects in Mississippi

Innovate Mississippi-SBS is working with organizations around the state to utilize methane gas capture systems that will provide heat, power and pressurized steam to surrounding structures.

SBS is working to find Mississippi resources that are reliable and can support financially beneficial alternative energy projects within the state. SBS is willing to support these projects in a number of ways including research, facilitating key relationships for investment, or even take key equity positions within the project.

Current initiatives include swine farms from around the state, which have been researching the benefits of heating and powering the swine houses, and Three Rivers landfill in Pontotoc that will use methane gas to create electricity, steam and heat for the Tempico paper mill.

Dairy Farm Efforts

The SBS is also looking into methane-gas capture systems on Mississippi dairy farms. These systems can be applied in confined feeding dairy operations and have the capability to produce tremendous amounts of electricity - enough to power an entire farm and sell power back to the utility. These systems typically are cost-effective only for dairy operations with around 400 or more heads, but further development activity will no doubt reduce the minimum heads required.

By working with a team of university researchers to increase methane production through better chemical reactions and farm practices, the SBI hopes to develop systems that can be proliferated to nearly all of Mississippi's dairy operations. For a look at how a similar system was implemented in Minnesota, take a look at the following link for Haubenschild Farms Digester.

Swine Farm Efforts

M&N Nursery in Montpelier, Mississippi, (a contract Nursery for Prestage Farms) will be working to create a lagoon gas capture system. The gas that is captured will be used to heat the hog pins in the winter and power the fans that cool the buildings in the summer. A feasibility study has been conducted by Alcorn State University and the Mississippi Development Authority Energy Division that calculated the project paybacks to be slightly high on the capture systems. However with new technologies, increasing efficiency and output capacity, plus a possible equity position from MAEE, the payback can be lowered and the system can be put into place. Once in place, the system may prove to be a model for other systems on other farms throughout the state.

Poultry Farm Efforts

Publications and Presentations

"Biogas Engine Application"
Greg Sorge
Charles Equipment Company
Mississippi Anaerobic Digestion Roundtable-May 26, 2005

"Heat Recovery from IC Engines"
Greg Sorge
Charles Equipment Company
Mississippi Anaerobic Digestion Roundtable-May 26, 2005

"Digester Projects in New York and National Database"
Tom Fiesinger
Mississippi Anaerobic Digestion Roundtable-May 26, 2005

"Agricultural Biogas Agricultural Biogas Production in the Great Production in the Great Lakes States" 
Fred Kuzel
Great Lakes Biomass State and Regional Partnership
Mississippi Anaerobic Digestion Roundtable-May 26, 2005

"Carbonate Fuel Cells For Anaerobic Digester BioGas"
Dan Connors
GenCell Corporation
Mississippi Anaerobic Digestion Roundtable-May 26, 2005

"Energy from Animal Residuals. . ."
Dr. Leonard Bull
North Carolina State University
Mississippi Anaerobic Digestion Roundtable-May 26, 2005

"Available Animal Resource Waste in Mississippi"

Eugene Columbus
Mississippi State University
Mississippi Anaerobic Digestion Roundtable-May 26, 2005

The Ag Star Program

Kurt Roos
U.S.-Environmental Protection Agency
Mississippi Anaerobic Digestion Roundtable-May 26, 2005

Farm Based P2P Networks a.k.a. Biorefinery
Pointe Innovation Magazine
By Sumesh Arora

Anaerobic Digestion of Animal Wastes: Factors to Consider
ATTRA (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas)

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