Anaerobic Digestion to Produce Alternate Energy Looks More Appealing

by 5m Editor
20 July 2007, at 12:19pm

CANADA - The use of anaerobic digestion to produce biogas for use as alternate energy on the farm is looking more appealing, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives is helping fund three on farm technologies which use anaerobic digestion to produce biogas from manure for use as an alternate source of energy.

Agri-energy specialist Doug Jackson says the province is interested in what effect anaerobic digestion will have on nutrients, on processing water, on the reduction of pathogens and odors and its potential for producing energy.

Doug Jackson-Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives

There is some potential in terms of energy production.

Just how much energy the different types of systems will generate remains to be seen under our conditions.

That's why we want to kind of evaluate these projects and see just what happens under our conditions.

And certainly it gives producers maybe an opportunity to offset some heating and electrical costs in their operation.

It certainly has a lot of benefit, I think, in terms of some of the larger livestock operations.

So there's the energy part and then the other benefits in terms of the nutrient factors that are involved.

Certainly the nutrients are still there.

The digestion process just makes those nutrients changed into a form that's more readily available to the plant so the effects of that and what it would have in terms of application rates and those kind of things remains to be seen but those are the kinds of things we want to look at.

Jackson concedes economic feasibility is a consideration.

However, notes, there are benefits that are hard to put a dollar value on such as being able to treat manure and reuse the water or with odor reduction.

He says these can be a factor in terms of the economic viability and the social acceptability of livestock operations.

5m Editor