Anaerobic digestion is the natural biological process which stabilizes organic waste in the absence of air and transforms it into biofertilizer and biogas. It is a reliable technology for the treatment of wet, organic waste. Organic waste from various sources is biochemically degraded in highly controlled, oxygen-free conditions circumstances resulting in the production of biogas which can be used to produce both electricity and heat. Almost any organic material can be processed with anaerobic digestion.
Anaerobic digestion is particularly suited to wet organic material and is commonly used for effluent and sewage treatment. This includes biodegradable waste materials such as waste paper, grass clippings, leftover food, sewage and animal waste. The exception to this is woody wastes that are largely unaffected by digestion as most anaerobic microorganisms are unable to degrade lignin.
Anaerobic digestion provides a variety of benefits which may be classified into three groups viz. environment, economic and energy:
- Elimination of malodorous compounds.
- Reduction of pathogens.
- Deactivation of weed seeds.
- Production of sanitized compost.
- Decrease in GHGs emission.
- Reduced dependence on inorganic fertilizers by capture and reuse of nutrients.
- Promotion of carbon sequestration
- Beneficial reuse of recycled water
- Protection of groundwater and surface water resources.
- Improved social acceptance
- Anaerobic digestion is a net energy-producing process.
- A biogas facility generates high-quality renewable fuel.
- Surplus energy as electricity and heat is produced during anaerobic digestion of biomass.
- Anaerobic digestion reduces reliance on energy imports.
- Such a facility contributes to decentralized, distributed power systems.
- Biogas is a rich source of electricity, heat, and transportation fuel.
- Anaerobic digestion transforms waste liabilities into new profit centers.
- The time devoted to moving, handling and processing manure is minimized.
- Anaerobic digestion adds value to negative value feedstock.
- Income can be obtained from the processing of waste (tipping fees), sale of organic fertilizer, carbon credits and sale of power.
- Power tax credits may be obtained from each kWh of power produced.
- A biomass-to-biogas facility reduces water consumption.
- It reduces dependence on energy imports.
- Anaerobic digestion plants increases self-sufficiency.
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