Anaerobic digester ribbon-cutting ceremony date set - August 13, 2013 (More...)

Anaerobic digester ribbon-cutting ceremony date set


The South Campus Anaerobic Digester (SCAD) ribbon-cutting will take place on the campus of Michigan State University (MSU) Aug. 13. The ribbon-cutting by MSU officials will officially kick-start the operations of SCAD. On the same day, MSU and MSU Extension will host the “Keeping it Green: Recycling Waste to Resources” field day, which will highlight this and other campus-based projects focused on reducing and reusing organic waste. Participants will tour the SCAD, the University Farms composting facility, the Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center (ADREC), MSU Recycling, the T.B. Simon Power Plant and the Student Organic Farm. 


Anaerobic digestion is a biological process that converts organic materials (called feedstocks) in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic conditions) into biogas. Methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are the primary gaseous components of biogas. Biogas can be burned to generate electricity and heat (steam), or purified and compressed for use as natural gas.


The on-campus digester project will provide many benefits, including renewable energy, emissions reduction, landfill and wastewater diversion, and enhanced fertilizer with few weed seeds and first-year-available plant nutrients.


Registration will begin at 9 a.m. at the MSU Livestock Pavilion, and the tours will end at 4:30 p.m. Registration received before Aug. 5 costs $20. On-site registration costs $30. Both fees include lunch. For agenda and registration, visit or call 517-884-7081. For additional information, contact Dennis Pennington at pennin34@msu.eduor 269-838-8265.


Original Article

Michigan State University is poised to begin work on a new anaerobic digester, a system that will not only help re-use waste from MSU’s farms and dining halls, but also will create energy for some on-campus buildings.

At its April 13 meeting, the MSU Board of Trustees authorized the administration to begin work on the project, an approximately $5 million venture that should pay for itself in less than 15 years.

When it is completed, probably in the summer of 2013, the system will provide a source of renewable energy which will be used to produce electricity for some of the buildings south of the main MSU campus. It also will keep organic waste produced at the university from going to landfills.

An anaerobic digester is a sealed tank, deprived of oxygen, in which organic waste is degraded at an elevated temperature. This allows the waste material to decompose quickly and produce methane that can be captured and used as fuel.

“Once complete, this system will be the largest on a college campus in the United States,” said Dana Kirk, a specialist from MSU’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering who is overseeing the project. “It will be the largest in volume and in energy output.”


Slides from the Board of Trustees presentation: