Sustainability for U.S. Farmers through Anaerobic Digestion
By Arno Tschunke | Founder and Business Manager at enCO2, LLC & Team Gemini Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Advisor
Valuable resources like fertilizer, compost, electricity, and thermal energy can be created using organic waste, and the potential for doing this at various scales in the U.S. is significant.
What should be done with manure, sludge, and other seemingly unusable leftovers from farming operations? Whether it’s with cattle, chickens, or pigs, farmers will always have a need to remove the waste their animals produce. Unfortunately, in many cases this waste gets dumped in lagoons, spread on the ground (resulting in bad odor), or hauled away (at high cost) to another location to decay, away from the farm. Aside from the environmental damage this causes, it is also a lost opportunity to generate valuable resources. As an example: if only going by confined animal (CAFO) dairy operations of 500 cows or larger, one 2013 report by Informa Economics noted the availability of 2,647 dairy operations nationwide. The value of production for 2,647 Dairy Anaerobic Digesters producing electricity is estimated between 1.3 and 4.6 billion USD, based on different scenarios. So much can be gained from waste!
As an increasing number of regions become concerned about their sustainability and the costs of ineffective waste treatment, enCO2 helps deliver innovative solutions through Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facilities from 64 kWel up to 12 MWel and even more. enCO2, LLC—with its office in Grand Rapids, Michigan—is one of America’s most innovative renewable energy companies. Their engineers have been designing and developing processing plants to meet the demands of clients for the past 20 years. The goal from enCO2 is to provide integrated solutions that offer a unique balance between technology, functionality, efficiency and profitability. This involves focusing on the latest scientific findings, as well as state-of-the art technologies. The enCO2 in-house quality control department works to ensure that their services continue to meet the highest of standards. The work with their partner Team Gemini offers the following power plant services:
- Feasibility Reports
- Feedstock Pre-treatment and Post-Treatment Processing
- Plant Design
- Authorization Process
- Plant Construction and Installation
- Plant Commissioning
- Plant Services and Enhancements
For small farmers, enCO2 new compact 64 -120 kW systems have been designed specifically for the use on smaller farms. Thanks to their patented UDR MonoTube and MonoTube Plus technology, their biogas plants offer a range of unique benefits, from a small footprint to the ability to install it within just six weeks because of containerized modular components, with the option to extend if your business grows. Using patented technologies, you always benefit from a maximum rate of return, whether you use the electricity and heat generated by the plant’s CHP (Combined Heat and Power) for your own use, or choose to sell this energy to a grid. Additional revenue streams from processing side products are also an option.
As the need to address waste handling becomes more pressing and impactful to communities’ bottom line, Team Gemini and enCO2 are combining their efforts and industry experience to establish proven technologies for small- and large-scale challenges of those communities. How we handle increasing waste stream is one of the chief components of doing that.
Arno Tschunke is founder and business manager at enCO2, LLC, and serves as Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Advisor to Team Gemini. He has been actively engaged as a manager in the Biogas industry since early 2007, and has been responsible for business development and project engagements in various international markets, including Germany, Turkey, Switzerland, and France.