Ohio State University will hold a first-of-its-kind training course on anaerobic digestion, a waste-management process that livestock farms and wastewater plants are increasingly using to produce biogas, a type of renewable fuel.
The course takes place Sept. 6-7 at the university’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster in northern Ohio.
“The (anaerobic digestion) industry is growing in Ohio, but there are no educational programs that provide an understanding of the scientific principles underlying the AD process or the daily management of an AD system,” said Yebo Li, the organizer of the course and an OARDC biosystems engineer.
“If the industry is to continue to grow successfully, training must be available for the workforce, including AD operators, regulatory personnel who will oversee permitting and operations, and investors who will provide funding.”
Li said the course is designed for people who already work in the anaerobic digestion industry; those who want to find out if anaerobic digestion is right for their operation, whether a farm, a wastewater plant or otherwise; and those who advise others on waste-management technologies.
The goal, he said, is to provide “a practical understanding of the digestion process and the means to address operational issues in the production of bioenergy from a wide range of feedstocks.”
Anaerobic digesters take in waste materials, or “feedstocks,” such as livestock manure, food-processing waste and municipal sewage sludge, break them down under tightly controlled conditions, and in the process produce useful compost and methane biogas.
Li will present “Fundamentals of Anaerobic Digestion” on the first day of the course. Also on that day will be “Feedstocks for Anaerobic Digestion” by Mark Suchan, quasar energy group; “Options for Biogas Utilization,” Ned Mast, quasar; “Laboratory Analyses: What and Why,” Lo Niee Liew, quasar; and “Lab Activities: How” by Li and Liew.
The second day offers “Managing the Operations” by Annette Berger, KB Compost Services; “Safety Issues,” Dee Jepsen, Ohio State; “AD Co-product Utilization,” Nick Basta, Ohio State; and “Rules and Regulations,” Bruce Bailey, quasar.
Also on the second day will be a tour of quasar’s anaerobic digester on the OARDC campus and an operator panel featuring Chris Weaver of Bridgewater Dairy; Aleksandr Yakhnitsky of the city of Columbus’s digester; and Berger, who also works with Akron’s digester.