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Projects Updates for Anaerobic Digester at Beef and Sheep Study

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  1. 2022 TEACHAD Webinar: Case study from the Michigan State University South Campus Anaerobic Digester

    Dana Kirk, Associate Professor at Michigan State University, presented a webinar on May 31, 2022 titled "Universities go green! A case study from the Michigan State University South Campus Anaerobic Digester", which also featured Marcello Pibiri, Senior Research Engineer at Energy Resources Center UIC.

    In case you missed the live webinar or if you would like to view the recorded session again, go to You can register with your name and email to watch the recording. Also attached is the presentation by Dana Kirk from this webinar.

    Marcello and his team at ERC organize the New Technical Education & Analysis for Community Hauling and Anaerobic Digesters (TEACH AD) Program to educate people about Anaerobic Digesters.

  2. archived info - previous project description

    This project will provide a study to investigate the feasibility of installing an Anaerobic Methane Digester in the area of the University’s South Farms to capture renewable energy from beef, sheep and/or dairy cow waste. The study will assess the possibility of an on-site digester at one site, with one digester system of animal waste. The study will identify useful “Waste/Organics to Energy Efforts” using available technology paths and options that match the goals and expectations of the UIUC stakeholders and project team, to deliver to UIUC a “Renewable Energy Waste/Organics to Fuel Study.” We will also include a section to address the goal to pursue carbon offsets in the project. We will use “The Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP)” to address greenhouse gas reduction strategies compliance.

  3. Energy SWATeam Meeting Minutes from 11-17-20

    On November 17th, the Energy iCAP Team met to discuss student, staff, and chair priorities for forming new recommendations. The team decided on starting to develop three different recommendations in the future:

    (1) Requiring campus buildings to comply with state Energy Code Compliance;

    (2) Encouraging labs on campus to save energy;

    (3) Educating students in residence halls about reducing energy consumption.

    Agenda, meeting minutes, and chat log are attached.

  4. David and Sarthak's meeting notes from November 20

    David and I met on November 20, 2019 for our first meeting following his Biogas on Campus email on November 13th. David received an email from Doug Wolters from the College of ACES, and Doug said that he will discuss this project with his Dean. David had not heard from anyone else.

    We discussed how to proceed with this project. I will try to get in touch with Lance Schideman to get his opinion on this subject. I introduced David to the SWATeam Clerk of the Transportation and Zero Waste SWATeam, Julija Sakutyte. I will talk to the Transportation SWATeam about a possible collaboration opportunity with the Energy SWATeam and Zero Waste SWATeam. David will also talk to the Energy SWATeam about this possible collaboration.

    I have set up a biweekly meeting with David, and a monthly meeting with Meredith Moore for this project.

  5. Biochemistry Student working with F&S on an Anaerobic Digester study project

    Following is an email sent by David Rivera-Kohr regarding Biogas on-campus to several faculty and staff at the U of I.




    My name is David Rivera-Kohr and I’m a student member of the Energy SWATeam. I want to propose using biogas for energy on campus. Since burning biogas for energy is effectively carbon neutral, this would bring us closer to our iCAP goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 


    Biogas is a huge untapped resource for energy production at the U of I. Rather than utilize the methane from animal manure and carcasses and food waste, we allow much of it to escape into the atmosphere. The Sanitary District currently uses municipal waste, restaurant grease, industrial food processing waste and campus dining hall food waste as feedstocks for its own anaerobic digester to produce biogas which is burned to generate 25-30% of the facility's energy. However, the Sanitary District does not want to dedicate digestion capacity to manure due to the need to accommodate growth of the local area (i.e. anticipated growth of student population). Furthermore, the Sanitary District is not a UIUC facility, therefore its use of biogas does not alleviate campus energy demand or contribute to our net-zero emissions objective. 


    I have a few ideas for biogas production on campus I would like feedback on:

    1. Add a biogas siphoning system to the manure storage tanks at the Beef & Sheep Farm.

    2. Conduct a study to determine which UIUC facility produces the most methane from animal waste and construct an anaerobic digester there. The 2014 Anaerobic Digester Feasibility Study indicated the Swine Farms collectively had the highest methane output; Miles Redden told me the Beef & Sheep farm is the highest manure-producing farcilty, though ionophore feeding of beef cattle decreases methane output. It may be worthwhile to determine which single facility has the highest methane output in 2019-2020.


    Additionally, there are a few options in consideration for how to best use the biogas: 

    1. Burn it on-site in existing natural gas furnaces to meet facility heat demands. This could be used in conjunction with the deep direct-use (DDU) geothermal system that is being studied for the ACES Legacy corridor—the brine solution from the DDU system will bring the facility's hot water to ~110 degrees F and the biogas furnace could increase that temperature to 130 degrees. There would likely be a considerable excess of biogas, which could either be burned on-site to generate electricity for distribution to the local grid (which is less efficient than combined heat & power), transported to nearby facilities to burn in their furnaces, or...

    2. Upgrade the biogas (all or only the excess from idea #1) to pipeline-quality methane and inject it into the pipeline for use at Abbott Power Plant. There is a supply pipeline that runs through the ACES corridor where this methane could be injected. 

    3. Use upgraded biogas for compressed natural gas (CNG) to power F&S vehicle fleets.


    The 2014 Feasibility Study also discussed constructing a pressurized pipeline to deliver  waste from multiple facilities to the site of the anaerobic digester. This may be worthwhile if the biogas is to be used on a larger scale i.e. at Abbott Power Plant or some combination of the previous ideas.


    Life-cycle cost analysis of the above options should be studied to determine the most cost-effective and, more importantly, the lowest emissions option. If you can, please let me know which of these options for biogas production and use sound most feasible, or if better ideas come to mind.


    Finally, we need the support and expertise of faculty and staff to advance this proposal. If you are interested in backing or contributing to this proposal, or you know someone else who may be, please let me know. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you!




    David A. Rivera-Kohr

    Undergraduate Student 

    University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

    College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


    Dr. Rutilio Fratti's Lab

  6. ACES Approval

    David Rivera-Kohr shared this great news today: 

    ACES has decided to support the biogas initiative! This is a huge step in the right direction. I’ve made decent progress on the presentation (though I need more information before it’s complete) and deciding which options to write the recommendation for is an important future step. An anaerobic digester is best in terms of energy production and waste disposal, but it ultimately comes down to what the University will fund. The Zero Waste SWATeam is very supportive of this idea and if I can collect evidence that a digester alleviates the burden on agricultural land and water consumption, the Land & Water team will also be on board. Thank you all for your help thus far, let’s make this happen! Communication with our Associated Dean for Research Germàn Bollero and the College of ACES is supportive of this proposal.  As it moves forward, we will need to work together to determine the level of involvement that ACES faculty/staff are willing and able to provide.

  7. Final report

    Anaerobic digestion (AD) is one of the most established technologies for processing waste organics. This study investigated the feasibility of installing an Anaerobic Digester to produce renewable energy from available streams of organic waste (feedstock) within the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. This study assumed that one on-site digester would be installed in the University’s South Farms. The best digester and energy conversion options were explored while considering UIUC’s existing resources and operations, as well as the goals stated in the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP).

  8. Conference program related to digesters



    Early Bird Discount Expires
    Friday, February 28

    Early bird registration fee of $495 includes sessions, exhibit hall, continental breakfasts, lunches, refreshments on April 8 and 9. Plus American Biogas Council Reception & Awards Ceremony on April 8.



    Agenda Highlights

    • How To Finance AD Facilities

    • Codigestion of Food Waste At Wastewater Treatment Plants

    • Integrating Composting And Anaerobic Digestion

    • Lobbying Boot Camp


    • Digestate Management And Markets

    • Biogas To Low Carbon Fuel

    • Food Waste Diversion Tips & Tools

    • Building California's Digester Infrastructure

    Tuesday, April 8 and Wednesday, April 9, 2014
    More than 80 Presentations on:

    Over 60 Exhibitors View list

    Keynote Speakers
    Plenary session, April 8




    Caroll Mortensen


    Janea A. Scott



    California Energy Commission

    AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop Monday, April 7, 2014
    Navigating the Biogas Maze:
    Learning from the Leaders
    This one-day AgSTAR event will include experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. AgSTAR is holding this one-day workshop in conjunction with BIOCYCLE REFOR14 WEST.

    American Biogas Council Events
    Tuesday, April 8, 2014
    Noon — 2 PM: ABC Working Groups & Committee Meetings
    6 — 8 PM: ABC Reception & Awards Ceremony
    Wednesday, April 9, 2014
    7:30 — 8:30 AM: ABC Member Meeting
    Noon — 2 PM ABC Working Groups & Committee Meetings

    All Day site tours See details
    Thursday, April 10, 2014
    • California Center For Algae Biotechnology
    • Encina Wastewater Authority Energy Recovery Plant
    • San Diego International Airport: Food Scraps And Materials Recycling

    Network and Connect
    BioCycle REFOR14 WEST is where to network and connect to the growing organics recycling sector of the Renewable Energy Industry. Generators of organic waste streams need solutions that provide multiple benefits for capital investments — environmental compliance, reducing power and fuel costs, climate-friendly practices.Processors need the facts, figures, case studies, equipment that will turn organics into renewable energy. Developers and investors will get key industry data to move projects forward.

    Who's Attending
    • Project developers and operators
    • Public officials and permitting authorities
    • Organic waste generators and managers
    • Utilities and biofuel suppliers
    • Investors
    • Industry executives
    • Equipment providers
    • Researchers

    BioCycle REFOR14 WEST — where participants get the latest on technologies and practices to turn municipal, agricultural and industrial organic waste streams into power, renewable natural gas, vehicle fuels and high-value digestate and compost products.



    Monday, April 7

    AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop

    Tuesday & Wednesday,
    April 8 & 9

    Conference Sessions &

    Thursday, April 10

    All Day Site Tours













    Current Exhibitors



    Over 80 Presentations:











    Town & Country Resort

    San Diego, California 92108
    (619) 291-7131

    Take advantage of the Special BioCycle Conference Hotel Rate: $118 Double/Single (plus tax)
    (special rate expires March 13, 2014)

    Click here to reserve your hotel room at this rate