How to Make More Biomass Renewable Energy
The equation is simple, more energy in equals more energy out. Therefore, it would stand to reason that simply adding energy-rich agricultural materials (known as feedstock) to your anaerobic digestion plant will create more biogas; more biogas means more biomass renewable energy to sell and greater profitability. Sounds simple, right?
The challenge is that energy-rich agricultural feedstocks – such as chicken manure and straw-rich solid manure from pigs and cattle – are technically and biologically hard to digest. For example, while chicken manure contains a lot of biologically degradable material which yields large amounts of biogas, it also contains a lot of nitrogen. If nitrogen concentration in the anaerobic digestion chamber is too high, this can negatively impact the anaerobic digestion process and cause biogas production to plummet, resulting in much less biomass renewable energy.
By undertaking full-scale trials and investigating potential biological issues in laboratory studies, JTI researchers are mixing liquid manure with energy-rich agricultural feedstocks to increase biogas production by 50% – 100% (when compared with liquid manure anaerobic digestion plants). JTI researchers are also studying ways to encourage the gas-forming bacteria that can work in high nitrogen concentrations. If JTI researchers achieve their goals and gas yields are as hoped, this will greatly improve the profitability of agricultural anaerobic digestion plants in North America and Europe.