Have You Ever Heard of a Digester?

You’ve probably never heard of anaerobic digestion unless you work on a commercial farm or are involved in the renewable energy business. Anaerobic digestion is a series of biological processes in which micro-organisms break down biodegradable material. Though it can occur naturally, this process typically requires the aid of a digester. But what exactly does a digester do? Read on to find out!

What’s the purpose?

As you can probably guess from its name, a digester’s purpose is to facilitate the anaerobic digestion process. The end product of anaerobic digestion is biogas. When combusted, biogas can be used to generate electricity and heat or be processed into renewable gas. Digesters typically make biogas out of livestock manure, food waste or high-strength wastewater. Any digested solids can be used for fertilizer or applied directly to crops.

Different types of digesters

What is a digester? Let’s explain by diving into the various kinds of digesters in Bethel, OH. Anaerobic digestion systems fall into four separate categories. These are the different types and their uses:

  • Covered anaerobic lagoon: These are sealed with a flexible cover and allow recovered methane to be pumped into a combustion device. Some covered anaerobic lagoon digesters use a single cell that both digests and stores the organic material.
  • Plug flow: These digesters are often used at dairy operations that collect manure by scraping. They consist of a long and narrow concrete tank with either a rigid or flexible cover. The tank is built partially or fully below grade to limit the need for supplemental heat.
  • Complete mix: As the name suggests, a complete mix digester is an enclosed heated tank with some kind of mixing system. The system can either be mechanical, hydraulic or gas powered. They work best when the manure is diluted with water.
  • Dry: Unlike other digesters that are buried beneath the ground, dry digesters are upright units that are made of concrete and steel. They operate on up to 42 percent total solids, which allows them to combine dry manure and crop residuals with very dilute liquid manures.

Can I get a digester?

The digesters mentioned above are typically only found on commercial farms, as they require a lot of organic material (like manure) to operate. However, there are small-scale digesters on the market that regular people can purchase and have installed. Homeowners who understand what a digester does also understand that they can help save tons of money on their monthly heating and electric bills, and that they’re beneficial for the environment. It’s important to keep in mind that digesters can be expensive upfront, but all of the biogas created can save you big bucks in the long run.

What is a digester? If you’re interested in installing one at your Bethel, OH farm or business, then give us a call! Gullett Sanitation Services Inc. provides a wide variety of services for homes and businesses of all sizes. Get in touch with us to learn more about what we can do for you.

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