Benefits of Anaerobic Digestion

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:

Environmental Benefits

  1. Elimination of malodorous compounds.
  2. Reduction of pathogens.
  3. Deactivation of weed seeds.
  4. Production of sanitized compost.
  5. Decrease in GHGs emission.
  6. Reduced dependence on inorganic fertilizers by capture and reuse of nutrients.
  7. Promotion of carbon sequestration
  8. Beneficial reuse of recycled water
  9. Protection of groundwater and surface water resources.
  10. Improved social acceptance

Advantages of Anaerobic Digestion Process

Energy Benefits

  1. Anaerobic digestion is a net energy-producing process.
  2. A biogas facility generates high-quality renewable fuel.
  3. Surplus energy as electricity and heat is produced during anaerobic digestion of biomass.
  4. Anaerobic digestion reduces reliance on energy imports.
  5. Such a facility contributes to decentralized, distributed power systems.
  6. Biogas is a rich source of electricity, heat, and transportation fuel.

Economic Benefits

  1. Anaerobic digestion transforms waste liabilities into new profit centers.
  2. The time devoted to moving, handling and processing manure is minimized.
  3. Anaerobic digestion adds value to negative value feedstock.
  4. Income can be obtained from the processing of waste (tipping fees), sale of organic fertilizer, carbon credits and sale of power.
  5. Power tax credits may be obtained from each kWh of power produced.
  6. A biomass-to-biogas facility reduces water consumption.
  7. It reduces dependence on energy imports.
  8. Anaerobic digestion plants increases self-sufficiency.

Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of Cleantech Solutions, and an international consultant, advisor and trainer with expertise in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection and resource conservation. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biogas technology, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management.
Salman has participated in numerous national and international conferences all over the world.He is a prolific environmental journalist, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. In addition, he is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability through his blogs and portals.
Salman can be reached at salman@bioenergyconsult.com or salman@cleantechloops.com.

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3 thoughts on “Benefits of Anaerobic Digestion

  1. Pingback: First U.S. biodigester produces renewable energy at UW-Oshkosh « all things green

  2. I wish the world nations are ranked for their carbon credits to create awareness among people to opt for the production and use of bioenergy to cause purity of environment and economic empowerment.

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