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MSU selects company to construct biogas plant


October 31, 2012, Burlington, Ont – Anaergia Inc. announced that it has been selected and has initiated development of an anaerobic digestion system at the Dairy Cattle Teaching & Research Center on the South Campus Farms at Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing, Mich.

The facility is expected to be the largest college campus-based anaerobic digestion system in the United States.

Once complete in 2013, the facility will convert 16,800 tons per year of food waste from campus dining halls, manure from MSU’s dairy farm and food processing waste from the local community into 460 kW of renewable energy. The renewable electricity will be used on campus while the natural fertilizer created through the process will be used on agricultural land.

“The payback on investment for this project will come from the energy produced, the fertilizer sales and also from tipping fees,” said Dana Kirk, manager of the MSU Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center (ADREC).

The organic waste will be fed to a complete mixed digester (CSTR) where the material will be naturally broken down by microorganisms in the absence of oxygen. The biogas produced in the digester will be used to generate renewable energy using a combined heat and power (CHP) system. The liquid will be separated from the left over solids leaving the digester and used as fertilizer on the surrounding agricultural land. The remaining fibrous solids can be composted for use as renewable bedding material for local dairy cows or sold to the public as fertilizer.

“Anaerobic digestion provides the flexibility to convert a wide variety of waste streams – including food scraps, manure and food processing waste – into renewable energy and resources,” said Ajit Srivastava, chairperson of the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at MSU. “This project provides MSU the ability to demonstrate how anaerobic digestion can address the critical issues of society including food, environment and energy.”