Monday, June 06, 2011

Implementing a Digester Gas Generator: An Overview

Running a generator (a.k.a. genset) on biogas is of interest to several types of facilities, from farms that hope to profit from manure to companies that need to reduce utility bills. However, as with any commercial generator installation, some key considerations should precede implementing a digester gas generator. In this article, we look the basic aspects of implementing a digester generator: project feasibility, implementation cost, and long-term results. For more detailed information, contacting a company that specializes in digester gas generator implementation is the best option.


(Above video illustrates the use of a biogas genset but is not related to the text.)

Project feasibility

If a facility plans on producing biogas, the feasibility of a project instantly concerns two things: the availability of space for a biogas storage unit and anaerobic digester (a container that produces biogas from organic waste material), and the availability of organic waste material to fuel the production process. In terms of space, commercial anaerobic digesters can require as little as a few thousand square feet, but the largest units require significantly more. For some facilities, this instantly presents a problem. In terms of waste material availability, facilities that have free access to materials such as sewage, food waste, and manure are ideal candidates to implement anaerobic digesters.

Anaerobic digesters are commonly linked with farming operations and water treatment facilities, but they are also used in other industries. Ultimately, the question becomes whether a facility can profit from the situation the way it envisions. If it can power its gas generator and supply gas to the rest of its facility-and perhaps even generate electricity-producing its own biogas could be more than feasible, especially at a time when gas prices are high and don't show signs of lowering.

For entities that want a biogas genset alone, the project becomes easier:
if a replacement generator is needed and a biogas storage unit can be accommodated, a generator service can implement a digester generator after the storage unit is ready to fuel it. Prior to purchasing the unit, a company should consult with a generator services provider to ensure the unit meets its emergency power needs.

Implementation cost

Implementing a high capacity commercial genset could easily require a high six-figure investment, especially when cost of labor and construction are added in. There are, however, some ways to deflate the cost of implementing a new genset, such as: buying from an independent dealer that will perform project management, buying a refurbished genset, and having an existing unit retrofitted with new technology instead of buying a replacement. Prior to making a buying decision, a company should discuss its needs with a generator services provider.

Long-term results

For the right facility, a digester gas generator is an excellent long-term investment. It costs less to fuel than a diesel generator and a standard natural gas generator. And implementing an anaerobic digester could mean a facility pays nothing for fuel. Facilities that need a new genset should consider all options, a gas digester model included. But the decision should ultimately be based on what works best for a their emergency power needs.

In my research on generator services, I've studied the potential value of implementing a digester gas generator.

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