Microbe Detectives published its inaugural Microbiome Study “Performance Comparison of Biogas Anaerobic Digesters Using DNA Sequencing” today. 60 samples plus operating data from 21 digesters were analyzed representing a variety of industries, feedstocks, reactor design, and operational conditions.

Microbial community data and diversity was statistically tested for correlation to digester operation and outcome data to begin linking digester microbiomes to design, operations, treatment and performance. Participants included, but were not limited to, Downers Grove Sanitary District, IL, MWRD of Chicago, IL, City of Fond du Lac, WI, Stevens Point, WI, Riverbend Labs, and Azura Associates. Dr. Alison Ling of Barr Engineering served as the Principal Investigator.

Biogas is produced by an anaerobic digester where microbes decompose waste and produce methane. According to the American Biogas Council, nearly 11,000 sites are ripe for development today, which could produce enough energy to power 3.5 million American homes and reduce emissions equivalent to removing 800,000 to 11 million passenger vehicles from the road.

Anaerobic digester microbiomes are not adequately monitored or optimized for methane production due to testing limitations. This leads to digester performance often being far short of the potential in reliability and methane production. Microbe Detectives is changing these limitations with the use of DNA sequencing, this research and an ongoing optimization service.

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What’s Next?

Microbe Detectives will continue this microbiome study throughout 2018 to further develop microbiome-based key performance indicators (KPIs) and assist engineers and operators in their efforts to optimize AD performance.
The 2nd Edition of “Performance Comparison of Biogas Anaerobic Digesters” will be presented at the 2018 Microbiome Water Summit, during WEFTEC week in New Orleans.

If you are interested in joining this study, or learning about Microbe Detectives AD optimization services, click here and/or contact Ralph Wagner, rwagner@microbedetectives.com.