Anaerobic Digestion 101 – Part 1

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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:

  • Define anaerobic digestion microbiology
  • Describe anaerobic digestion technologies used for treatment of municipal solid waste including: Low-solids technologies and High-solids technologies
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of available technologies
  • Describe the history and current projects of full-scale AD of MSW including: Demonstration plants and commercial digesters in North America and Commercial digesters in Europe, Asia and others

Course Length
63 minutes