EAST LANSING, Mich. State and foundation grants exceeding $3 million will assist Michigan State University researchers in developing technology for smaller farms to turn animal waste into usable heat, electricity and other valuable products.
MSU's planned Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center will consolidate new and existing programs in a planned 3,280-square-foot building south of campus, at MSU's expanding farm animal and environmental research complex.
Researchers aim to develop and commercialize turn-key digester/microturbine modules for affordable waste-to-power systems for small and mid-sized farms.
"The initiating of the center completes our vision for a continuum of research capabilities from theoretical calculations, laboratory-scale, bench-scale, pilot-scale and farm-scale anaerobic digestion research," said Steven Safferman, the center's director and an associate professor in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering.
A two-year, $1.5 million Michigan Public Service Commission research grant "recognizes MSU's strong capacity to address the critical issues of sustainability of animal agriculture and the need for renewable energy and economic development in Michigan," department chairperson Ajit Srivastava said.
An additional three-year grant totaling $1.5 million from a private southeastern Michigan foundation to build the facility and fund new programs "is an excellent example of how universities and foundations can work together to address critical issues of society such as food, environment and energy," Srivastava added. The foundation prefers to remain anonymous.
Farm waste management is a growing issue due to concerns over food contamination, pollutant runoff, odor and, most recently, greenhouse gas emissions. Petrochemical cost spikes, meanwhile, have added to farmers' costs for fertilizer and fuel. The MSU ADRE Center will develop ways to efficiently con
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Michigan State University