A Review of Available Resources on Anaerobic Digestion Technologies

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Muhlbauer, Ember
Burns, Robert
Moody, Lara
Spajic, Robert
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Anaerobic digestion of manures provides multiple environmental benefits for animal feeding operations including odor reduction, green house gas emission reduction, and production of a renewable energy source. This paper provides an overview of information sources available in the United States regarding anaerobic digestion of manures. Selection and implementation of an optimal anaerobic digestion system for a given farm requires significant research regarding digester type, biogas production potential, biogas collection and handling, construction cost estimates, and operation and maintenance cost estimates. Practical information concerning anaerobic digestion is dispersed through a number of sources in the U. S. Information sources in this review include items from the federal and state government agencies, land grant universities, and non-profit organizations. The reviewed items provide information related to methane recovery technologies on U.S. concentrated animal feeding operations, economics of biogas production for on-farm heating, case studies of U.S. animal manure digesters, and various other anaerobic digestion resources. A concise review of available US information sources regarding the anaerobic digestion of animal manures is provided to assist in the decision making process concerning selection and implementation of manure anaerobic digesters.