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First Dry Fermentation Process Biogas Plant in US Goes Ahead at University of Wisconsin

dry fermentation processThe first dry fermentation anaerobic bio-digester in the nation, which will convert biowaste (yard and food waste) into biogas, has been ordered by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (UWO).

The renewable energy facility has been designed by BIOFerm Energy Systems, and the biogas produced will power a 370 kWh biogas CHP cogeneration system, to be supplied by 2G-CENERGY.

It will be located on the Dempsey Trail, adjacent to the Witzel Avenue Campus Service Center at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

The plant will produce 4183 MW of heating energy to the campus, and 3071 MW of electricity per year, most of which will be used on the University Campus site, with any excess power sold to the grid.

This will be energy which will replace energy which would have otherwise been created using fossil fuel based energy sources such as oil, gas, or coal. By using a waste product in this way as the fuel, UWO will be producing renewable energy which will reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In addition the waste will be disposed of in a way which will not harm the environment by filling up a landfill.

If all biowastes were used in this way to produce energy the world’s production of carbon dioxide would be lessened. As carbon dioxide is thought by many to be the main cause of greenhouse gas warming of our planet this could have a very beneficial result in reducing climate change.

The dry fermentation process was initially developed in Germany as the most effective method to produce biogas, electricity, heat and fuel to vehicles from renewable biowaste. Dry fermentation is a process which works independently of other energy supply routes. If implemented by others in the area this type of power plant creates a local or regional “energy cycle”. Therefore, promoting such plants encourages the development of autonomous energy production not reliant upon huge distribution networks. This diversification if implemented to its fullest could have further advantages in stabilizing and reducing energy costs.

Some people are not familiar with the term “biomass”. Biomass refers to any plant matter grown from many different species and a broad variety of biodegradable wastes. To treat the multitude of different biomass feedstocks, and produce biogas, technologies like the dry fermentation process are required, which provide a high feed flexibility.

Biomass is introduced to the fermentation chambers in batches. In most designs a pile of biomass is fed into a fermentation chamber and left to digest in a culture of micro-organisms, for about 28 days. During this time the biomass conversion process runs automatically through the biological fermentation phases, utilizing a balanced mix of required substrates and bacteria.

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