Quantalux Blog

News, events, observations, industrial and otherwise, from a Quantalux point-of-view.

Feasibility Study for a Biodigester

Quantalux was awarded a contract by the City of Ann Arbor to assess the potential for operating a biodigester for the local region. Our partners on this project are Swedish Biogas in Flint, MI, who are experts in co-feedstock management and digester operation/management. In this contract, we surveyed available feedstocks at businesses and food processors, coordinated with existing disposal entities, and developed a set of financial models to identify the required scale of the project for successful operation.

This study showed that the inclusion of sewage sludge in the list of available feedstocks to be an important factor to economic success.  The avoided cost of biosolids disposal (processed sewage sludge) into landfills or for land application is a major benefit. Our models assumed the use of public financing using tax-exempt bonds, as well as revenue from biogas-based electrical generation.

A range of financial models were developed for the City to assess different scenarios. Variable parameters included interest rates, disposal costs and revenue from electrical generation. Given fairly conservative assumptions on interest rates and revenue, we showed that an investment in a biodigester system can be profitable to the City of Ann Arbor. These results will allow City decision-makers to develop cost-effective long-term strategies for solid waste disposal management.

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