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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Kimberly, Idaho » Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research » Research » Research Project #441515

Research Project: Strategies to Improve Anaerobic Digestion for Small to Medium-Sized Livestock Operations in the U.S.

Location: Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research

Project Number: 2054-12000-013-009-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Feb 1, 2022
End Date: Jan 31, 2024

Objective:
Evaluate the feasibility of anaerobic digestion systems for small and medium-scale animal operations in the US. The feasibility study will focus on three objectives: 1) complete an overview of current anaerobic digestion technologies; 2) conduct techno-economic analysis (TEA) and life-cycle impact assessment (LCA) of small- and medium-sized anaerobic digestion systems with new technologies of biogas and digestate utilization/application; and 3) recommend climate-friendly strategies to implement anaerobic digestion technologies for small- and medium-sized animal operation in the U.S.

Approach:
Each of the objectives will be approached as follows. 1). Current anaerobic digestion technologies. A comprehensive analysis will be conducted to cover current advancements of anaerobic digestion technologies, from feedstock pretreatment, co-digestion approaches, digestate utilization and soil fertility, and renewable electricity and natural gas generation/application. A detailed literature review will be conducted. The advantages and disadvantages of each technology for small- and medium-sized animal operations will be discussed. 2). TEA and LCA of small- and medium-sized anaerobic digestion systems. New biogas utilization applications (i.e., rural electric vehicle charging network and rural renewable natural gas generation) will be analyzed and evaluated for small- and medium-sized animal operations. New carbon and nutrient management practices (i.e., biochar and phosphorus recovery) will be also analyzed and evaluated. The detailed TEA and LCA analysis will lead to technically sound and environmentally friendly anaerobic digestion solutions. 3). Climate-friendly strategies to implement anaerobic digestion technologies for small- and medium-sized animal operations in the U.S. The solutions generated from the TEA and LCA analyses will be incorporated with geographic and climate information of different regions in the U.S. A multiple-objective optimization tool will be applied to conclude regional climate-friendly digestion strategies. The expected outcomes from the completion of the project will be: 1) a comprehensive report on strategies to improve anaerobic digestion for small to medium-sized livestock operations in the U.S.; 2) one manuscript on the TEA and LCA analyses; and 3) one manuscript on multiple objective optimization of climate-friendly strategies. These outcomes will lay out a clear direction for development of next-generation anaerobic digestion technologies for climate-friendly small- and medium-sized animal operations.