Small-Scale Anaerobic Digester Design Anaerobic Digesters, or Bioreactors, convert waste into methane. Methane is the primary constituent of natural gas. After the waste has been converted and the gas has been captured, the end product is called digestate. Digestate is the “rocket fuel” of all fertilizers.
While most of the world has used this technology for some time, the U.S. has been slower to pursue this viable source of energy and waste diversion. With the impending rise of oil prices and the residual effect that it has on our finances, our company believes that America’s acceptance of small-scale bioreactors is inevitable.
Manure and food waste are the ingredients that are placed into the bioreactor. Bacteria living within the digester eat this waste and methane is created. Yes, this is what takes place in your septic tank, but in a heated anaerobic digester, there is a lot more methane gas produced. There are millions of small anaerobic digesters throughout parts of the world, such as in India, China, and Central and South America. Food waste, garden waste, and manure from a rural family can be placed within the digester to provide more than enough cooking gas for each day.
Warmer developing countries have implemented small-scale digesters because their climate negates the need for a heat source to keep the bacteria at the optimal methane-producing temperature of 80 or more degrees (F). Our research aim is to design a solar-heated anaerobic digester that could be used in cold regions of the world. We are continuously evolving our thermosiphon heat delivery design so that off-grid peoples of the world can utilize this incredible energy source.