Maryland Bioenergy Center

Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic digestion (“AD”) is a well proven process in which organic materials are broken down naturally by microorganisms in the absence of oxygen.

"Think of what we do as creating an industrially sized cow stomach." - Shawn Kreloff

The process produces two environmentally rich products: 

  • renewable natural gas (a consistent non-fossil fuel source of and effective source of renewable energy)
  • digestate (an organic soil amendment equivalent to compost without the odor which can be land applied or mixed to create nutrient rich topsoils)

AD is an entirely enclosed system in which organics are fermented in large cylindrical tanks. The fermentation process eliminates the need for any type of combustion (there is no burning or emissions) and thus nothing harmful is released into our environment. 

Microbes inside the tanks break down the material and release methane gas, which is captured and collected. 

This is BDC’s point of difference: our microbiology centered laboratory, our 20 years of experience in the AD world treating organics of all types and sizes, and our proprietary microbial nutrients.

The gas created in this process is a renewable energy source (heat and electric) and the remaining waste in the tank is used as an organic soil amendment sometimes known as a biofertilizer.

Here’s how it works:

AD Diagram 2021-2-8

Ineffective disposal of excess organics has an enormous impact on the environment and your community.  Most often, these materials end up in an incinerator, where they are combusted and emitted as an environmental pollutant, or in a landfill, where they decompose and release methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.

There is a better way.

Adopting and integrating AD within your community will lower fossil fuel and chemical fertilizer use, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, reduce our reliance on unhealthy disposal facilities such as incinerators, and preserve scarce space and capacity in our landfills.

AD facilities are most effective in areas with large quantities of biodegradable organics, especially those being landfilled or posing challenges in their disposal, as well as areas with high demands for thermal, natural gas, or electrical energy.

The video of our MD Bioenergy Center below, explains the process in detail.  Have a look!