Unit 1.3: Products from Anaerobic Digestion

Background and Guiding Questions

As discussed in the preceding units, anaerobic digestion is chosen for many different applications and reasons by facilities because the biological process at the heart of an anaerobic digester performs many different functions in transforming the feedstocks into useful products. These products can be divided into the liquid and solid factions of the digestate and biogas. Some of these products, like biogas, are produced directly from the anaerobic digester, while other products (such as fiber) are easier to produce using an anaerobic digester, but could also be produced without an anaerobic digester. The biogas produced from anaerobic digestion is one of the most versatile energy resources. It can be burned to replace fossil fuels; used to create electricity or pipeline quality renewable natural gas or vehicle fuel. Other opportunities include carbon dioxide enrichment when an anaerobic digester is integrated with other systems such as greenhouses.


Guiding Questions

  • What are the products of the various stages of anaerobic digestion? What are the options for each of the different products of digestion?
  • What factors influence the choices of what products to market or utilize from anaerobic digesters?
  • What are the energy applications for biogas produced from anaerobic digestion?


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