Friday, February 17, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Brent Miller, Lyons-Decatur Northeast Schools, Oakland, NE
There is an increasing interest in the development of renewable energy technologies. Biomass is being utilized as an energy source, and several technologies have been developed that convert biomass into bioenergy. Anaerobic digestion converts biomass to biogas (Methane). Methane (CH4) can be utilized to supply energy, reduce odor, and lower carbon emissions. Nonetheless, anaerobic digestion is not optimally used as a biomass conversion technology. This research presents an overview of the optimization of anaerobic digestion through the introduction of ruminant bacteria. The effectiveness of bacterial introduction will be analyzed through the volume of gas produced, CH4 and CO2 concentrations, and spectroscopic bacterial concentrations. This research serves to prove whether the anaerobic digestion process can be enhanced through ruminant bacterium introduction; further aiding in the development of anaerobic digestion. A control set of unaltered hog fecal slurry and an experimental set of hog fecal slurry at a 1:3 mixture with ruminant bacterium was enclosed in a PVC capsule. It was discovered that contrary to the hypotheses formed, the introduction of ruminant bacterium did not enhance the methane production of the digesters. Hypotheses 1 and 3 were not supported, while hypotheses 2 and 4 proved true. Despite the occurrence of unexpected results, this project provides a wealth of insight into the development of anaerobic digesters and the incorporation of ruminant waste, as there is currently minimal research concerning the optimization of anaerobic digesters through the use of ruminant material - a waste product of the livestock industry.