Integrated Biorefinery Utilizing Agriculture Waste Biomass

An built-in biorefinery strategy using agriculture waste biomass to supply renewable biomethane together with different co-products (for soil modification, nutrient restoration, and transportation biofuels). Credit score: Nazih Kassem, with photographs from Cornell College, Division of Power

College considers proposal to transform cattle manure to methane and use it together with geothermal vitality to warmth the campus all winter.

Cornell College is growing a system to extract vitality from cattle manure to fulfill the campus’s peak calls for for warmth within the winter months. Within the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Power, by AIP Publishing, scientists concerned with the mission give an in depth evaluation of the problems required to make this work, together with scientific, financial, and vitality coverage issues.

The college is already concerned in an initiative to develop renewable vitality sources and companies, with the objective of decreasing its carbon footprint by 100% by 2035. These targets are proving troublesome to attain in chilly areas, equivalent to Ithaca, New York, the place the college is situated, since over six months of winter heating is required for its buildings and laboratories.

Heating wants are a good portion of Cornell’s vitality utilization, and a problem happens at peak heating occasions. The college is growing a geothermal mission that gives warmth from sizzling water extracted 3-4 kilometers underground. This can present enough base-level heating however could be economically unattractive to fulfill peak demand.

To fulfill the necessity for extra warmth within the depths of winter, the investigators are proposing a system to transform cattle manure from the varsity’s dairy farms, which home 600 cows, to methane and different merchandise. The tactic employs a three-stage course of, the place the manure is first biologically digested with microbes to supply biogas, a combination of carbon dioxide and methane.

That is adopted by a second stage that converts the digested manure into a sort of biocrude oil plus a substance known as hydrochar that makes a superb soil modification.

The ultimate stage combines the carbon dioxide generated in step one with hydrogen fuel produced by renewable electrolysis of lake water to biologically generate renewable pure fuel, RNG. This closing product may be injected into the pure fuel grid for New York state, in a lot the identical approach electrical energy from wind generators and photo voltaic panels is returned to {the electrical} grid.

“The proposed system will produce about 909 million liters of RNG per 12 months,” stated creator Nazih Kassem. “This could present 97% of the full annual peak heating demand. The rest may be met by buying pure fuel, rising Cornell’s dairy herd measurement, or utilizing campus eateries’ meals wastes for co-digestion. Including 19 extra dairy cows would lead to sufficient RNG manufacturing to fulfill the common annual peak heating demand.”

The investigators’ detailed financial evaluation revealed the significance of state insurance policies concerning the RNG value and different points.

“If New York state had been to undertake insurance policies to create a carbon market and allow aggressive RNG pricing, then the proposed biomass peak heating system would present profitability,” Kassem stated.

Reference: “Sustainable district vitality integrating biomass peaking with geothermal baseload heating: A case examine of decarbonizing Cornell’s vitality system” by Nazih Kassem, James Hockey, Steve Beyers, Camilo Lopez, Jillian L. Goldfarb, Largus T. Angenent and Jefferson W. Tester, 22 December 2020, Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Power.
DOI: 10.1063/5.0024841

By Rana

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