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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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AgriCleanDavid 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

    • 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, 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…

  • Type of waste (feedstocks)

  • Feedstock total solids (TS) concentration

  • Facility location

  • Management structure


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 #2


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

  • 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 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

  • 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

  • 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…?

  • Solar

  • Wind

  • Geothermal

  • 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 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?

  • 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?

  • 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

  • Interconnection agreements

  • System and generation protection requirements

  • Normal and emergency operating provisions

  • Metering

  • Cost and ownership

  • Power sales agreements


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



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 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 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?

  • 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?

  • 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

  • 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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