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  • Cooperative Extension Lewis County

    Final Report June 2010 (updated)

    Feasibility Study of Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Utilization Options for the Proposed Lewis County Community Digester

    www.manuremanagement.cornell.edu

  • Feasibility Study of Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Utilization Options for the Proposed Lewis County Community Digester

    By:

    Curt Gooch, P.E.1, Senior Extension Associate

    Jennifer Pronto1, Research Support Specialist

    Brent Gloy, Ph.D2, Professor

    Norm Scott, Ph.D1, Professor

    Steve McGlynn1, Research Support Specialist

    Christopher Bentley1, Undergraduate Student

    1Biological and Environmental Engineering Department

    2Department of Applied Economics and Management

    334 Riley-Robb Hall

    Cornell University

    Ithaca, New York 14853

    June 11, 2010

    Updated June 30, 2010

  • Foreword

    The Feasibility Study of Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Utilization Options for the Proposed Lewis

    County Community Digester project is not a feasibility study in its strictest definition, but rather an

    assessment of the farm and non-farm biomass resources available in and around the village of Lowville,

    an investigation into the available options for co-digesting them (various combinations of materials and

    site locations), an estimation of the biogas that could be produced by the various scenarios, the resulting

    energy produced, and net energy available for use, and an economic profitability assessment for each of

    the options investigated. The scope of work for this project was somewhat dynamic as adjustments

    were continually made based on progress of evaluating the information at hand. This report was

    written to provide the findings and recommendations of the feasibility study to the client, the Lowville

    Digester Workgroup, and also to serve as an educational tool for the stakeholders of this and future

    proposed centralized anaerobic digester projects.

    The proposed Lewis County Community Digester project exemplifies the full potential of a centralized

    anaerobic digester. Manure and, waste biomass materials (processing byproducts from multiple

    sources), are mixed together and heated to produce biogas; a locally generated, clean burning,

    renewable energy. Waste biomass is generated daily by food processing plants and restaurants, public

    facilities and institutions such as schools and hospitals, and at private residences. Co-digesting manure

    and these materials reduces the burden on landfills and reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The

    U.S. dairy industry has formally committed to reducing its GHG emissions by 25% by 2020 and this

    project is an example of how this can be effectively accomplished, from a technical/applied perspective.

    In fact, the Lewis County Community Digester project demonstrates the vision behind Dairyville 2020

    the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairys Dairy Power Initiative flagship project. The major shortcomings

    at this point are high capital costs and less than required energy purchase prices needed to make such

    systems economically feasible.

  • Acknowledgements This document is the culmination of a team effort by the authors and many others who provided their

    assistance and support. The authors wish to acknowledge and thank the following individuals/groups

    for their contributions:

    Senator Joseph Griffo, 47th District in New York State, for funding this project and for his continued

    interest.

    The dairy farmers of Lewis County who completed the farm surveys.

    Representatives for the non-farm biomass suppliers who completed the non-farm surveys.

    Drs. Dave C. Ludington and Michael B. Timmons, Professor Emeritus and Professor, respectively, of

    Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University for their efforts in reviewing drafts of the

    feasibility study and for their constructive inputs and suggestions.

    Members of the Lowville Digester Workgroup for their confidence in the Cornell team to provide a

    feasibility study that would contain unbiased information and for their teamwork and collaboration

    while the feasibility study was being conducted.

    Ms. Christine Ashdown (Cornell Office of Sponsored Programs) for her timely efforts in developing the

    contract for this project and for her continued support to funded project opportunities pursued by

    members of the Cornell PRO-DAIRY program.

    Ms. Michele Ledoux (Cornell Cooperative Extension Lewis County) for her trust in the Cornell team

    and for her work in securing the funding and performing contract administration tasks that resulted in a

    workable means to performing this work.

    Ms. Norma McDonald (North American Sales Manager, Organic Waste Systems, Inc.) for providing key

    information on energy crop digesters suitable for U.S. applications needed to perform the annual

    economic profitability analysis for the energy crop digester scenarios investigated.

  • Mr. Todd Vernon (Senior Sales Manager, GE Energy Jenbacher) for providing key information on the

    Jenbacher engine-generator sets needed to perform the annual economic profitability analysis.

    Mr. Frans Vokey (Cornell Cooperative Extension Lewis County) for his overall leadership of the

    Lowville Digester Workgroup and Cornell collaboration, and for all of his efforts in planning and running

    project meetings.

    Mary Beth Anderson (community resident) for her assistance in collecting samples from non-farm

    biomass suppliers and for work on distributing and collecting non-farm biomass surveys.

    Mike Durant (Soil and Water Conservation District) for designing the project map.

  • Table of Contents

    Foreword

    Acknowledgements

    Table of Contents

    Table of Figures

    Table of Tables

    Abbreviations and Acronyms

    Executive Summary p. 1

    Introduction p. 15

    Chapter 1. Basics of Centralized Dairy Manure-based Anaerobic Digestion, Biogas Utilization, and Nutrient Recovery Systems

    p. 23

    Chapter 2. Literature Review of Centralized AD Projects p. 39

    Chapter 3. Farm and Community Biomass Survey p. 49

    Chapter 4. Biomass Sample Collection and Analysis p. 61

    Chapter 5. Biomass Transportation p. 71

    Chapter 6. Preliminary Investigation of Five AD Scenarios p. 77

    Chapter 7. Final AD Scenario Selection and Details p. 93

    Chapter 8. Next Steps and Recommendations p. 115

    References p. 117

    Appendix

    A. Glossary of terms p. 121

    B. Farm-based Survey p. 127

    C. Non Farm-Based Survey p. 131

    D. Substrate Sampling Report p. 133

    E. Biochemical Methane Potential; Laboratory Procedure p. 137

    F. Projected Farm Survey Responses p. 139

  • Table of Figures Page Figure 1. New York State map showing location of project-site ................................................................. 16 Figure 2. Typical CAD system process flow diagram ................................................................................... 23 Figure 3. A CAD in Jutland, Denmark .......................................................................................................... 24 Figure 4. Danish above-grade complete mix vertical digesters in background .......................................... 29 Figure 5. Thermal to electric conversion efficiency of six NYS on-farm engine-generator sets. (Source: Gooch, Pronto, Ludington, Unpublished, 2010) ......................................................................................... 32 Figure 6. Basic process flow diagram for advanced biogas clean-up for biomethane production. ........... 34 Figure 7. Advanced digestate treatment to segregate and concentrate nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. ................................................................................................................................................... 38 Figure 8. Landfill tipping fees ($/ton) by region of the U.S. (Repa, 2005) .................................................. 47 Figure 9. Landfill tipping fees ($/ton), developed from Figure 8 (Repa, 2005). ......................................... 47 Figure 10. Lowville regional map with collaborating dairy farms superimposed along concentric circles of various radii centered on downtown Lowville............................................................................................ 54 Figure 11. Quantity (millions lbs/yr.) of substrates (wet weight). ............................................................. 57 Figure 12. Biochemical Methane Potential (BMP) data (cumulative biogas yield) for substrate 4. ........... 62 Figure 13. Graphical representation of biochemical methane potentials for all substrates tested. .......... 63 Figure 14. Estimated annual minimum, maximum, and average methane production by substrate. ....... 66 Figure 15. Estimated aggregated annual minimum, maximum, and average methane production of non-farm biomass substrates and manure. ....................................................................................................... 66 Figure 16. Nutrient concentrations for pre- and post-digestion conditions for N, P, K.............................. 70 Figure 17. Diagram of estimating a break-even tipping fee for non-farm biomass substrate suppliers. ... 75 Figure 18. CAD Site 1 for Scenario Nos. 1 and 2. ........................................................................................ 78 Figure 19. Remote AD Site 2 for Scenario Nos. 3, 3a, and 3b. ...................

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