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Agri Clean David C. Palmer, P.E. Managing Partner. Cost-effective Anaerobic Digestion Technologies and Their Role in Green Power. AgriClean, LLC. An emerging leader in the areas of manure management & anaerobic digestion Not an outfit with an answer in search of a problem

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Agri Clean David C. Palmer, P.E. Managing Partner

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Agri clean david c palmer p e managing partner

AgriCleanDavid C. Palmer, P.E.Managing Partner

Cost-effective Anaerobic Digestion Technologies and Their Role in

Green Power

Agriclean llc

AgriClean, LLC

  • An emerging leader in the areas of manure management & anaerobic digestion

    • Not an outfit with an answer in search of a problem

    • Rather, a solutions oriented company that can provide a least-cost customized method to meet customer needs

    • Specializing in dairy, swine and agricultural processing wastes

    • Energy Recovery


Agriclean llc1

AgriClean, LLC

  • Significant technological solutions

    • AgriJet process can significantly reduce water volumes used for flushing

    • AgriGas process can provide a tailored AD solution

  • AgriClean can optimize organic waste removal and treatment systems plus energy recovery


Types of digesters used depends on

Types of Digesters Used Depends on…

  • Type of waste (feedstocks)

  • Feedstock total solids (TS) concentration

  • Facility location

  • Management structure


With livestock operations

With Livestock Operations

  • Manure Management Systems

    • Traditional flushed barns have dilute total solids (less than 3%)

    • Scraped barns have higher total solids

      (greater than 3%)


Flushing example 1

Flushing Example #1


Flushing example 2

Flushing Example #2


Anaerobic digestion ad system options

Anaerobic Digestion (AD) System Options

  • Suspended Growth Systems

    • Solids Retention Time = Hydraulic Retention Time (SRT = HRT)

    • Covered Lagoons

    • Complete Mix

  • Attached Growth Systems

    • SRT ≠ HRT

    • Fixed Film

    • Others in development pipeline




  • Substitutes pressure for volume in hydraulic flushing operations

    • Can reduce water use by up to 80% in new facilities and 50% in existing facilities

    • Programmable control system set to flush at user-specified, such as milking times

    • All pipes, nozzles and gutters positioned to allow animal movement and to avoid breakage




  • Depending on design criteria, AgriJet can deliver manure to the digester with up to 6% Total Solids

  • Greater Total Solids can significantly reduce AD system cost!

  • More organic loading = higher gas yields and greater energy potential


Agrijet dairy farm example

AgriJet Dairy Farm Example

  • A 1,000 head dairy using standard hydraulic flushing techniques would use a flush volume of about 100,000 gallons/day

    • Conventional digester would require a volume of around 2,000,000 gallons

  • AgriJet system on the same farm will require 35,000 gallons/day for flushing

    • Fixed-film digester w/ a volume of 175,000 gallons

    • Other system aspects (pipes, heat exchangers, pumps, solids separators, etc.) are also made smaller




  • AgriClean has several types of AD systems with gas capture in its portfolio

    • Covered lagoon

    • Fixed film AD licensed from the patent-holder

    • Continuously stirred (complete mix)


Fixed film ad system development

Fixed Film AD System Development


Fixed film ad system advantages

Fixed Film AD System Advantages

  • Designed for use w/ dairy manure, but also well suited for hog manure

  • Small footprint

    • 2-6 day HRT v. 20 days for suspended growth

  • Modular design

    • Deployed at ~30% less cost than suspended growth

  • High Methane yields

    • Up to 80% Methane v. ~60% for suspended growth

  • Very high destruction of Volatile Solids (VSd)

    • Up to 65% VSd w/ hog manure


On farm projects underway

On-Farm Projects Underway

  • Fixed-film digester and biogas use system on a 400 head dairy (around 560 animal units or AU) near Hillsboro, MS in partnership with the Mississippi Alternative Energy Enterprise

  • Fixed-film digester and biogas use system on a swine finishing farm producing 30,000 animals/year (around 1600 AU at steady-state) near Greenville, NC in partnership with the Animal and Poultry Waste Management Center of NC State University

  • Fixed-film digester and biogas use system on a swine farrow-to-finish operation producing 64,000 animals/year (around 3580 AU at steady-state) in Canada

  • Covered lagoon digester and biogas use system on a 4000 head swine nursery farm in Montpelier, MS


Ag processing plant projects underway

Ag Processing Plant Projects Underway

  • Fixed-film digester and biogas use system at a 1000 head/day beef packing plant

  • Covered lagoon digester with biogas capture at a 6000 head/day swine processing facility


What is green power

What is Green Power…?

  • Solar

  • Wind

  • Geothermal

  • Biomass


What is biomass

What is Biomass…?

  • Wood, forestry residuals

  • Agricultural waste

  • Industrial waste

  • Municipal waste

  • Food processing residuals

  • Other organic by-products

  • Crops grown for energy production


What is anaerobic digestion

What isAnaerobic Digestion…?

  • A biological process that occurs in the absence of dissolved oxygen

  • Three temperature ranges for AD

    • Psychrophilic (ambient…swamps, sediments of lakes and ponds, landfills, intestines of animals)

    • Mesophilic (95-105 degrees F)

    • Thermophilic (125-135 degrees F)


How is biogas produced

How is Biogas Produced?

  • Microbiological conversion of organic wastes into methane, carbon dioxide and trace elements like hydrogen sulfide

  • Amount and quality of biogas depends on the composition and biodegradability of the feedstock


How is the biogas used to create energy

How is the biogas used to create energy?

  • Most efficient use is to replace other fuel sources like natural gas or propane

  • The gas can also be used to fuel engine generators or microturbines to produce electricity

  • In some cases the gas is used to fuel vehicles


Utility issues

Utility Issues

  • Interconnection agreements

  • System and generation protection requirements

  • Normal and emergency operating provisions

  • Metering

  • Cost and ownership

  • Power sales agreements


Harris farm project overview

Harris Farm Project Overview

  • Under contract from the NCAG Smithfield/Premium Standard Farms Agreement for Environmentally Superior Technologies through NCSU’s Animal and Poultry Waste Management Center

  • Projected economics to be at or below the costs of current lagoon/sprayfield-based treatment systems

  • Farm owner agreement allows for the retained ownership of the system by AgriClean


Agri clean david c palmer p e managing partner


Harris farm project overview1

Harris Farm Project Overview

  • 12,000 head finishing farm

  • Animals are added in two barns every two weeks

    • LAW remains fairly constant; w/ tank heated @ 35°C, biogas production should not vary significantly

  • Barns use a pit recharge, pull plug flushing system

    • Flushing schedule is every 3 days

  • Daily flow now in excess of 240,000 gpd

    • 20,000 g/barn/day

  • Changed flush schedule & AgriJet system indicates the use of 30,000 gpd for flushing and 18,000 gpd of flow from the animals

    • 4,000 g/barn/day


Harris farm project overview2

Harris Farm Project Overview

  • Organic loading used to establish initial volume

    • COD is controlling factor

  • Based on the lab analyses, digester loadings at 48,000 gpd will be:

    ComponentConcentration (mg/l)Pounds


    VS21,490 8,589


    TKN 2,880 1,151


Harris farm project overview3

Harris Farm Project Overview

  • Farm connected to the electrical grid

  • Sales agreement to sell peak power to Greenville Utilities from existing diesel engine/generators

  • Current plan is to offset the increased farm load resulting from the waste treatment facility

  • Present utility rates and standby charges in North Carolina make it uneconomical to sell excess power

  • Exploring using the biogas to meet farm’s existing peaking contract

    • May provide an economical sales structure to sell peak power from the biogas


What are the economics of producing green power from anaerobic digestion

What are the economics of producing Green Power from Anaerobic Digestion?

  • It costs about 6.5 cents per KWh to produce electricity from AD

  • In most parts of the country, the price utilities will pay for this renewable energy is about half what it costs to produce it

  • Currently the environmental benefits of AD (odor control, water, air and land pollution reduction) are the driving factors in selecting this as a preferred waste treatment option


How can utilities encourage the development of this source of green power

How can utilities encourage the development of this source of Green Power?

  • Progress Energy has a target of 5% of its load from Green Power (about 1,100 MW)

  • Some others have targets as high as 25%

  • TVA and its distributors offer a Green Power Switch program including solar, wind and biomass


Agriclean contacts

AgriClean Contacts

  • Nashville TN, David Palmer @ 615-279-9797

    Scott Pogue @ 615-594-8657

  • Pierre SD, Phil Lusk @ 605-224-4334

  • [email protected]


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