2008 ASABE Annual International Meeting
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2008 ASABE Annual International Meeting Rhode Island Convention Center Providence, Rhode Island June 29 – July 2, 2008. On-Farm Anaerobic Digestion Biogas Production in Pennsylvania – 30 Years.

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2008 ASABE Annual International Meeting Rhode Island Convention Center Providence, Rhode Island

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2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

2008 ASABE Annual International Meeting

Rhode Island Convention Center

Providence, Rhode Island

June 29 – July 2, 2008

On-Farm Anaerobic Digestion Biogas Production

in Pennsylvania – 30 Years

Deborah A. Topper Research Technician Patrick A. Topper Sr. Research Technologist Robert E. Graves Professor

The Pennsylvania State University


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Pennsylvania has the distinction:

Four of the oldest continuously operating farm-based anaerobic digesters

30 years – Mason Dixon Farm

(Gettysburg, PA)

1984 First poultry digester up and running (24 years)

Combined operating experience of these four digesters is 99 years


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Sixteen(16) known operating farm-based anaerobic digesters (AD) in Pennsylvania

11 Dairy - 8695

3 Swine - 6600

1 Poultry (layers) – 72,000

1 Beef & Poultry –

1000 Beef + 120,000 Poultry

2 in Design phase

7 in Planning phase

1 industrial AD under construction @ a Swiss Cheese Plant


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

What is an anaerobic digester?

Air tight, oxygen free container,usually concrete

Continues the digestion process of organic materials such as animal manure and food wastes

Biogas is produced (60% methane & 40% carbon dioxide)

Heated to maintain optimum temperature 99oF or 135oF

Biogas can be used to run an engine generator set creating electricity and waste heat


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Why are digesters getting a lot of attention today?

Odor complaints - encroachment of housing developments bordering farm land

Energy crisis (as in the late 1970’s)

Completion of de-regulation of Pennsylvania electrical utility companies

Biogas used for power production: decrease, meet or eliminate electricity purchases from power companies


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Why are digesters getting a lot of attention today continued:

Heat recovery utilization

Nutrient management concerns

Regulations for nutrient discharges from non-point sources

Growing concern of greenhouse gas emissions

Reduces pathogens and weed seeds


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Why are digesters getting a lot of attention todaycontinued:

Dried separated solids - bedding for animals

Separated solids - sold as bedding or soil amendments

Nutrient-rich effluent – lowers or eliminates fertilizer costs

Improved storage and handling characteristics of manure

Green energy

Sale of Carbon Credits and Renewable Energy Credits (REC)


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Pennsylvania’s Governor Edward G. Rendell’s Energy Portfolio Standards and Net Metering laws have allowed Pennsylvania farm-based digester electrical generators to produce “renewable energy” for the grid profitably. Net metering basically allows the farmer to sell its excess power to the grid at the retail generation rate.


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Power production adds significant costs to the overall digester project, but without the power production capability these anaerobic digester systems would not be cost effective at the current $1M plus price tag.


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Grants & loans from various agencies and programs for Pennsylvania farmers installing an anaerobicdigester manure handling system

  • United States Farm Bill

  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

  • (PADEP) Energy Harvest Grants

  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQUIP)

  • Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Machinery

  • and Equipment Loan Fund (MELF)

  • Pennsylvania Governor Rendell’s Renewable Energy

  • Portfolio Standards


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Carbon Credits & Renewable Energy Credits (REC)

Other sources of capital to finance part of the digester system

Sale of estimated carbon credits for a 20 year period

(received a lump sum payment)

Environmental Credit Corporation, certifies the farm’s methane destruction and trades the carbon credits on the Chicago Climate Exchange

Sale of Renewable Energy Credits (REC)

These programs are in their infancy and long term success is unknown.


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

ACT 38 of 2005

Agriculture, Communities and the Rural Environment

ACRE

Creates a process for farmers to seek judicial review of ordinances believed to be restrictive of normal agricultural operations. Farmers will have the ability to request the Pennsylvania Attorney General to review an ordinance restricting agriculture that the farmer believes to be illegal.

The Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture and the Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State will provide expert consultation regarding the nature of normal farming operations and practices in the Commonwealth.


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Unique items and problems that have occurred on PA farms installing digesters

Brendle Farm - liquid chicken manure

  • Water is added and mixed with the manure to make a slurry

  • Irrigate the digested manure slurry

Brendle Farm – pre-heat tank

  • Added early in operation as a limestone grit and feather removal mechanism

  • Prevent clogging


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Brookside Dairy, Homer City, PA:

Pressure relief valve attached to the flexible cover.

The designer of this AD system uses an emergency biogas relief assembly that is attached directly to the flexible cover to prevent over pressurization in the event the biogas piping gets clogged.


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Penn England Farm, Williamsburg, PA: designed with a flat flexible cover to prevent wind damage.


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Penn England Farm, Williamsburg, PA: heat recovered from the engine radiator is directed through the concrete floor to dry the separated digested solids.


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Schrack Farms (Dairy)

This plug flow digester is designed with an offal pit for additional feedstock to boost methane production.


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Schrack Farms - concrete and bolt delay (1 yr.)

A major problem with the concrete sub-contractor building the plug-flow digester tank on Schrack Farms delayed the entire project for almost a year. The groove along the entire top edge of the digester was not cast properly. Also, bolts of two different sizes were not cast in the proper locations.


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Pine Hurst Acres

Danville, PA

In large pen swine houses, a dunging pattern is observed.

Swine do not like to defecate where they sleep. These piglets show they prefer to sleep along the wall and defecate in the center of the pen.


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Pine Hurst Acres

Complete Mix Digester


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Pine Hurst Acres, Danville, PA

Manure Pits

1,100

pigs

1,100

pigs

3 m

6 m

6 m

6 m

3 m

Raw Manure

Digested Manure

(Meinen 2008)


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

(Meinen 2008)


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Gases: ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane and carbon dioxide concentration levels were monitored and revealed not to exceed recommended maximum concentrations for either animals or humans (Meinen 2008).


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

A biogas website to communicate farm-based anaerobic digester information to the public (www.biogas.psu.edu) has been created at The Pennsylvania State University.

What is an Anaerobic Digester, History of Anaerobic Digestion, Types of Digesters (with case study examples from across the United States), AD Safety, Resource Listings of equipment, designers, financing and most recently, six Pennsylvania farm-based AD case studies were added to the biogas website.


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Department of Agricultural and Biological EngineeringBasics of Anaerobic Digestion

Terminology

Types of Anaerobic Digesters    * Complete Mix   * Plug Flow   * Covered Lagoon   * Other Types or      Modifications

Case StudiesCommon Digester Misconceptions

Consultants, Equipment Dealers and Funding

Safety with Biogas

Resource Links

Centralized Digesters

PSU Digester Projects

Contact Us

Biogas Production

Biogas production using anaerobic (oxygen free) digestion is a biological treatment process to reduce odor, produce energy and improve the storage and handling characteristics of manure. A biogas production system must be specially designed and requires regular attention by someone familiar with the needs and operation of the digester. Associated manure handling equipment and gas utilization components are also required. The digester does not remove significant nutrients and requires an environmentally responsible manure storage and handling system.

A well designed and operated digester will

require modest daily attention and maintenance.

The care and feeding of a digester is not unlike

feeding a cow or a pig; it responds best to

consistent feeding and the appropriate

environmental (temperature and anaerobic-

oxygen free) conditions. The earlier a problem

in operation is identified the easier it is to fix and

still maintain productivity.

Thinking about a digester for your operation?   Ask yourself these questions.

 Support for this website made possible by:

Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Program Department of Agricultural and Biological

College of Agricultural SciencesEngineering


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Brendle Farm

Type of farm: Belted, Caged Layer

Name of farm: Brendle Farm

County: Somerset

Feasibility Study: 1982 by Wayne Bogovich of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) (Bogovich 2004)

Digester designer: Bert and Dick Waybright, Gettysburg, PA

Digester installer: Brendle Farm

Construction start date: Spring 1984 (designed in 1983)

Date Digester became operational: June 1984

Number of animals contributing manure to the digester: 72,000 laying hens

Manure handling system: caged layers manure belt, augered to liquid mix tank

Type of digester: slurry loop

Digester cover: flexible

Digester temperature: mesophilic 95oF

Biogas uses: operate the CHP unit to produce electricity and heat

Biogas utilization equipment: engine generator

Heat Recovery Utilization: engine generator water jacket to heat the digester, pre-heat wash water for egg processing and to heat the egg processing area and the office.

Power Purchase Agreement: Yes

2008 status of digester: operational

Information provided by: Robert and Michael Brendle, (2006 & 2007)


2008 asabe annual international meeting rhode island convention center providence rhode island

Questions?

On-Farm Anaerobic Digestion Biogas Production

in Pennsylvania – 30 Years

Deborah A. Topper Research Technician

Patrick A. Topper Sr. Research Technologist

Robert E. Graves Professor

The Pennsylvania State University


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