Waste to Fuels – Projects

Washington State Department of Agriculture – Appendix A

Washington State University in partnership with the Washington State Department of Agriculture conducted targeted applied research and extension related to anaerobic digestion and other energy conversion technologies for dairy, animal and organic waste during the 2011–2013 biennium. Research and extension activities were designed to address the present and future technical needs of our dairies, emerging clean technology industries, and rural communities.

While specific research and extension tasks change with each biennium, several themes continue through the project and are identified in seven broad categories. We have been active in eight broad research areas over the past biennium:

  1. Nutrient recovery from dairy manure
  2. Anaerobic sequence batch reactors
  3. Biogas purification within the anaerobic digestion-nutrient recovery platform
  4. Anaerobic digestion on small dairies
  5. Pretreatment of fibrous feedstock for entry into digester
  6. Anaerobic digestion of algal biomass residues with nutrient recycling
  7. Extension and support for transfer of anaerobic digestion technologies
  8. Smaller projects on various anaerobic digestion topics

Revolving funds, with objectives/reports every biennium; $255,000 per year each biennium

Washington State Department of Ecology – Waste to Fuels Technology

The Washington Department of Ecology’s Waste to Fuels Technology (WTFT) program has strategically invested in CSANR to support research that will facilitate the commercialization of a suite of second-generation organics processing technologies that can be integrated with aerobic composting by our regional organics recycling industry. In this biennium, WTFT funded research in three general areas including anaerobic digestion, nutrient recovery, and pyrolysis.

The applied research and extension projects carried out over the last two years were selected to address specific barriers to commercial viability that exist with these emerging technologies, as well as to provide ongoing extension and technological support to the next generation organics industry in Washington State. Applied research projects were in the areas of:

  1. The application of developed nutrient recovery-anaerobic digestion systems to municipal organic wastes such as food scrap and grass waste
  2. Understanding needs for integration of pyrolysis with anaerobic digestion and compost technologies
  3. Treatment of food scrap to explore processing with existing commercialized anaerobic digestion technologies
  4. Furthering steps to support a new high solids anaerobic digestion system developed at Washington State University by addressing green waste pretreatment and mixing issues important for technology scale-up, as well as pilot-scale design
  5. Evaluating the suitability of integrating pyrolysis into existing composting recycling facilities, including identification of integration pathways, and design analysis for an Auger pyrolysis reactor for use in a composting facility
  6. Improving the ability of biochar as a nutrient recovery media, including producing engineered biochars with enhanced phosphate recovery properties, and cost analysis of a biochar filtration unit to recover nutrients from a small dairy liquid waste stream.

Revolving funds, with objectives/reports every biennium; $225,000 per biennium

Anaerobic Digestion Systems

United State Department of Agriculture: National Institute of Food and Agriculture – AD Systems (funder website)

This project aims to quantify the climate, air, water, nutrient and economic impacts of integrating emerging, next-generation technologies within anaerobic digestion systems on U.S. dairies: nutrient recovery, pyrolysis, and water recovery. Existing evidence suggests that addressing nutrient concerns and improving project returns on investment could enhance anaerobic digestion adoption rates in the U.S., as well as generate additional environmental benefits. This project builds on technologies that are being developed by the project team through leveraged research. Enhancement of pyrolysis through modification of biochar for nutrient recovery is being investigated, and all AD-derived fertilizers are being evaluated at the greenhouse scale. Analysis of various levels of technology incorporation and farm scenarios is being used to determine direct and upstream/downstream impacts on greenhouse gas emissions, nutrient and energy flows, project economics, and crop yields.

Project objectives include:

  1. Enhancement of pyrolysis through modification of biochar for nutrient recovery, with exploration of N, P, and H2S capture
  2. Agronomic evaluation at greenhouse scale of AD-derived fertilizers: surface-modified biochar, organic P-enriched solids, ammonium sulfate solution, and struvite crystals
  3. Modeling of GHG emissions, nutrient flows, and crop yields of various adoption scenarios for AD systems technologies
  4. Techno-economic analysis of adoption scenarios for AD systems technologies
  5. Extension of research to key stakeholders positioned to facilitate adoption of AD systems (e.g. industry, regulatory agencies, and private carbon market entities)

Funding amount: $750,000

Funding dates: 8/1/12 through 7/31/15