Existing and proposed regulations requiring organic waste diversion from landfills, as well as public interest, are driving an ever-increasing need for sustainable waste management technologies for handling organic wastes. Diverted organic wastes are often composted however, composting alone does not harness the renewable energy generation potential of organic wastes, and in many cases there is not a large enough demand for composted solids to justify these programs. Alternatively, anaerobic digestion (AD) can be employed for bioenergy generation, and digestate can be subsequently composted to generate marketable soil amendments. A recently conducted life cycle assessment demonstrated that AD represents the most environmentally sustainable waste management technology for food waste.
Upon completion of this course, the attendee will be able to:
- Describe digester performance
- Discuss biogas applications including electricity production and combined heat and power, purification and injection into natural gas pipelines and its use as a transportation fuel
- Demonstrate the elements of post-digestion composting and nutrient recovery
- Describe steps for sustainability and AD
- Discuss the economics of AD for municipal solid waste (MSW)