[Digestion] Attachment to previous Article - More scientific based research and questions

Anand Karve adkarve at gmail.com
Tue Oct 5 17:47:18 PDT 2010

Dear Hooroo,
our ARTI biogas system produces about 800 litres or 0.8 cubic meters biogas
from 1 kg (dry weight) of food waste. It takes about 500 litres (0.5 cubic
m) to generate one kW electricity, if one uses an internal combustion engine
to drive the generator.  The article reproduced by you says that 3 tons of
food waste produces enough power to provide electricity to 25 houses for a
day. Assuming that the food waste mentioned in the article has about 50%
water, the three tons are reduced to a dry weight of 1.5 tons, which would
produce, in a single phase ARTI biogas plant, about 1,200,000 litres or 1200
cubic meters of biogas, enough to generate about 2400 kW electricity. It is
unfortunate that the article reproduced by you does not give figures, but I
thnk that with food waste as rqw material, the ARTI biogas system might turn
out to be more efficient in converting food waste into biogas. There are
also factual mistakes in the article reproduced by you. It says that there
are no methane producing bacteria in the human gut. This is not true. The
methanogens are found in the guts of all animals. I also question the
concept of a series of organisms converting cellulose to starch to sugar to
organic acids to acetic acid to methane. An organism needs extra-cellular
digestion only in the case of cellulose. Once it gets converted into
glucose, it is taken into the cell and metabolised to the end by one and the
same micro-organism.

On Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 6:08 AM, Paul Harris <paul.harris at adelaide.edu.au>wrote:

>  G’day All,
> A couple of people have asked for the attachment to an article I reposted
> for Dhanesh Kumar [daquab4u at gmail.com]. I left it off thinking it had
> exceeded the Listserver size limit but will try again.
> Happy Digesting,
> Turning Trash Into Power
> Biological Engineers Generate Natural Gas with Bacteria
> *October 1, 2006* — A new kind of waste digester uses two different
> strains of bacteria in different tanks. This would normally take place in
> the same environment, but microbiologists have now separated it into two
> stages that increases natural-gas production. The technology increases
> efficiency and can turn three tons of food scraps into enough energy to
> power 25 homes for a day.
>  ------------------------------
> *See also:*
> *Plants & Animals* <http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/plants_animals/>
>    - Extreme Survival<http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/plants_animals/extreme_survival/>
>    - Bacteria <http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/plants_animals/bacteria/>
> *Earth & Climate* <http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/earth_climate/>
>    - Energy and the Environment<http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/earth_climate/energy/>
>    - Renewable Energy<http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/earth_climate/renewable_energy/>
> *Matter & Energy* <http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/matter_energy/>
>    - Electricity<http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/matter_energy/electricity/>
>    - Organic Chemistry<http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/matter_energy/organic_chemistry/>
> *Reference* <http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/>
>    - Biodegradation<http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/b/biodegradation.htm>
>    - Waste management<http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/w/waste_management.htm>
>    - Biomass <http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/b/biomass.htm>
>    - Sewage treatment<http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/s/sewage_treatment.htm>
> DAVIS, Calif. -- There's a new twist on the old adage, one man's trash is
> another man's treasure. Now that trash may be another man's power.
> Researchers in California are turning garbage into bio-gas that may one day
> provide the electricity in your home.
> Trash could soon be powering your home. A new digester can transform it
> into energy. It uses two strains of bacteria to convert waste into bio-gas.
> Most digesters store both bacteria in the same tank, which makes the process
> unpredictable and slow. But not this digester.
> "Zhang's process takes the two bacteria and separates them into two
> separate environments," Dave Konwinski, the director of OnSite Power Systems
> in Davis, Calif., tells DBIS.
> This new and improved digester is the brain child of Biological Engineer
> Ruihong Zhang. She and her students at UC Davis first built its prototype in
> the lab. She's thrilled her new technology is being put to use in the real
> world.
> "It's a new technology ... So it's like a child grow into adult," she says.
> The digester will turn three tons of food scraps into energy for 25 houses
> a day. But it's not just for homes. The digester could be especially useful
> to fuel processing plants. It s scheduled to be up and running this fall.
> OnSite Power Systems plans to market it in several states in the next couple
> of years, including California, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
> "We can actually scale a digester to fit their current operations, fill it
> right at their operations, take the waste stream into the digester, and the
> energy right back into the plant," Konwinski says. "It will make a
> substantial dent in our current energy requirement for petroleum."
> It's a win-win-win situation for the environment, industry and consumers.
> *BACKGROUND:* Environmental engineers at the University of California,
> Davis, are building a full-scale anaerobic digester that can convert any
> type of solid organic waste into electricity -- even leftovers from
> restaurants. The system is part of the $100,000 Sacramento Municipal Utility
> District (SMUD pilot project), but an even larger digester system is being
> put into place in San Francisco.
> *HOW IT WORKS:* In the process, food waste is collected from restaurants
> and institutions and then fed to bacteria that thrive in low-oxygen
> environments. It's called anaerobic digestion, a naturally occurring process
> of decomposition. One type of bacteria turns carbohydrates into simple
> sugars, amino acids and fatty acids. A second group of bacteria eats those
> compounds and turns them into hydrogen gas, carbon dioxide, and acetic acid
> -- the primary component of vinegar. Then a third group of bacteria takes
> those broken-down compounds and turns them into methane and carbon dioxide.
> Between 60 and 80 percent becomes methane. The methane can be used as fuel
> for an internal combustion engine that provides electricity.
> *TYPES OF DIGESTION:* Anaerobic digestion is not the same thing as human
> digestion, since the type of bacteria that produce methane don't live in the
> human digestive tract. Industrial anaerobic digesters can also harness this
> natural process to treat waste, provide heat, and increase nutrients in
> soil. They are most commonly used for sewage treatment and for managing
> animal waste.
> *BENEFITS:* The goal of SMUD is to obtain 20 percent of its electricity
> from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and biodegradable matter by
> 2011. Currently SMUD derives 10 percent of its electricity from renewable
> sources, of which biomass accounts for 2.5 percent. The UC-Davis digester
> would keep food and other biodegradable waste out of landfills; food
> leftovers account for 18 percent of a landfill's contents. One tone of
> leftover food can produce enough fuel to power 18 homes for one day.
> *WHAT ARE EXTREMOPHILES?* An extremophile is any microbe that thrives in
> extreme conditions, such as temperature (extreme heat or cold), pressure,
> salinity, low oxygen environments, or high concentrations of hostile
> chemicals. Most extremophiles belong to a class known as archaeobacteria,
> but certain species of worm, crustacean and krill can also be considered
> extremophiles.
> *The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.<http://www.ieeeusa.org/>,
> contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.
> *
> [image: http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/ivanhoe.gif]<http://www.ivanhoe.com/ftk>
> *Note:** This story and accompanying video were originally produced for
> the American Institute of Physics series Discoveries and Breakthroughs in
> Science <http://www.aip.org/dbis/> by Ivanhoe Broadcast News and are
> protected by copyright law. All rights reserved.*
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> Related Stories
> ------------------------------
> *New 'Digester' Converts Garbage To Energy<http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041012093158.htm>
> * (October 12, 2004) — UC Davis bioenvironmental engineer Ruihong Zhang
> sees a vast untapped resource in lawn clippings, household table scraps and
> other biodegradable materials: enough energy to keep the lights burning in
> ...  > *read more*<http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041012093158.htm>
> [image: http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2010/04/100414083539-thumb.jpg]<http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100414083539.htm>
> *New Super Bacterium Doubles Hydrogen Gas Production<http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100414083539.htm>
> * (April 14, 2010) — Hydrogen gas is today used primarily for
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> gas in a way ...  > *read more*<http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100414083539.htm>
> *Synthesizing Gas, Making Energy<http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070911155512.htm>
> * (September 12, 2007) — A way to convert natural gas into raw materials
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> * (November 24, 2000) — With hundreds or thousands of cows eating,
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> ...  > *read more*<http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001122183221.htm>
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> * (May 5, 2010) — Renewable electricity can be transformed into a
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> Now, a German-Austrian cooperation wants to go in the opposite direction. In
> ...  > *read more*<http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100505113227.htm>
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Dr. A.D. Karve
President, Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI)

*Please change my email address in your records to: adkarve at gmail.com *
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