Anaerobic Treatment of Agricultural Wastes Course a Success!

Robert T. Burns, Faculty, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Lara Moody, P&S


As energy costs have continued to rise, there has been increased interest in anaerobic digestion of animal manures to generate energy. This interest has included the direct use of biogas on the farm, centralized digestion systems, co-digestion facilities and digestion of manures as an energy source at ethanol plants. Increasingly, agricultural producers are requesting information and decision-making advice on topics related to anaerobic treatment of agricultural waste.


The objective of the course was to provide the necessary information and tools that a consultant, decision maker, system reviewer or information provider can use to assist agricultural operators.


The Anaerobic Treatment of Agricultural Wastes short course took place on May 21 & 22, 2007 at the Hotel Fort Des Moines in Des Moines, Iowa. The course was designed to go through the unit processes of anaerobic treatment, from fundamental principles to case histories.

The ISU Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department put on the course, which was opened by Dr. Gerald Miller, Director of the Extension to Agricultural and Natural Resources, and Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture, who gave a general welcome to the participants.  Other ISU speakers included Dr. Robert Burns, ABE Associate Professor and course coordinator, Dr. Shihwu Sung, Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering Associate Professor, and Dr. Rob Anex, Associate Director of Biorenewables Program and ABE Associate Professor.


There was a great turnout of 109 participants, including 12 exhibitors. After each presentation, there were good questions and informative group discussion.  A comment from one course evaluation read, "After 5 years in the farm-based renewable energy from biogas business, this was the 'highlight' speaker lineup to learn about U.S. technology."

Eighty percent of those who filled out surveys said that they would sometimes or frequently use the information gained from this course while advising clients on manure anaerobic systems. Ninety three percent said they would recommend this course to a colleague.

June 30, 2007
160  Natural Resources and Stewardship


Page last updated: August 2, 2007
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