Energy working group to highlight fast-growing anaerobic digester technology

April 15, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Indiana Biomass Energy Working Group will host a spring session to highlight anaerobic digester technology on April 23 in Middlebury.

The session includes presentations by Purdue Extension and industry experts, as well as a tour of the Culver Duck anaerobic digester.

"A primary mission of the working group is to showcase biomass energy projects around the state," said Chad Martin, Purdue Extension renewable energy specialist. "Culver Duck used to have to pay to dispose of offal waste, but the anaerobic digester now allows them to commingle that with corn stover to create biogas. The electricity generated by the facility is then purchased by the local power company."

The tour will highlight how Culver Duck successfully navigated the permitting process to bring the plant online.

Indiana is one of the leading states in the U.S. in energy produced by anaerobic digesters. According to Jiqin Ni (pronounced JEE-chin Nee), Purdue agricultural and biological engineering professor, there are at least 12 such systems in the state - nine of which use some form of agricultural and agro-industrial waste, such as livestock manure and duck processing wastes.

"Anaerobic digestion has been developing at accelerating speed internationally, in the U.S. and in Indiana," Ni said. "It's been developing even faster in China and Europe, so here in the U.S. we have a lot more room to develop this technology."

As of September 2012, there were 192 anaerobic digester systems operating at commercial livestock farms in the U.S. Farms often install the systems to produce energy, reduce greenhouse gases, control odors and create valuable byproducts, such as fibers for bedding. In addition to electricity generation, biogas produced from the systems can produce renewable energy to replace non-renewable vehicle fuels, Ni said.

The working group session, which is open to the public, will cover anaerobic digestion in detail. It runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Das Dutchman Essenhaus restaurant, 240 Indiana 20, Middlebury. The Culver Duck digester tour is 1:30-3 p.m. and round-trip transportation between the restaurant and Culver Duck will be provided.

Presentations are:

* "Anaerobic Digester Technology," by Ni.

* "The Culver Duck Digester - Concept to Reality," by a representative of Jones Petrie Rafinski.

* "Bioenergy Regulatory Considerations for Culver Duck," by David Turner of Turner Tech, LLC.

* "Finding the Right Recipe for Successful Digester Operations," by Norma McDonald of Organic Waste Systems.

* "The NIPSCO Feed-in Tariff," by Dee Cota of NIPSCO.

* "Introduction to the Culver Duck Company," by Dayton Frey of Culver Duck.

Registration of $25 per person is due Thursday (April 18) and includes lunch. More information about the session, Culver Duck and registration is available at

Session sponsors include Purdue Extension, Jones Petrie Rafinski and NIPSCO.

Because of the rapid growth in anaerobic digestion technology, the Indiana Biomass Working Group also is forming a task force for the technology in Indiana. The first task force meeting will immediately follow the Culver Duck tour.

Writer: Jennifer Stewart, 765-494-6682,

Source: Chad Martin, 765-496-3964,

Jiqin Ni, 765-496-1733,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson,
Agriculture News Page

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