Researchers in New Mexico are investigating a new process to convert organic material, like manure or municipal waste, into something more useful.
The new option is referred to as a "dry digester."  New Mexico State University civil engineering professors Zohrab Samani and Adrian Hanson, received a patent in 2009 for the design of a digester that would convert organic waste (such as food waste), municipal waste, manure or household garbage, into an energy source and soil amendment.
The researchers are testing the process with New Mexico dairy farmers. The state ranks seventh in the nation for milk production and first in dairy herd size.
The dry digester system has the potential to utilize the dairy manure and dispose of it in a manner that would be clean, energy efficient and beneficial. Among the benefits are the production of pathogen-free compost, high-nitrogen compost, no odor, as well as the ability to capture and use methane. The application regarding manure is likely to be applicable beyond the dairy industry.
Receiving the patent will now provide Samani with the opportunity to build an intermediate system within a year that will be used to develop design scale-up relationships. It will act as a model for a large-scale production that would have the capacity to convert large amounts of wastes into more useful products.
Source: New Mexico State University