MSU's ADREC works to create more climate-smart agriculture and industry

The Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center (ADREC) at Michigan State University (MSU) was founded in 2008, and conducts research and more

Finding ways to create renewable energy with existing natural resources is a key way to have a sustainable energy source in the future. The Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center (ADREC) at Michigan State University (MSU) is working towards that goal, and many others to create a more climate-smart agriculture and industry. ADREC was founded in 2008, and provides research, professional development, and outreach support for waste-to-energy systems, including bench top, pilot-scale and commercial anaerobic digestion systems. 

Anaerobic digesters are a way to create sustainable energy while reducing waste. The process of anaerobic digestion is when

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Sibel Uludag-Demirer, Ph.D.

organic materials are converted into methane and carbon dioxide via anaerobic microorganisms living in the absence of oxygenMSU has a leading position in sustainable energy research and application with the full scale anaerobic digester fed by dairy manure and food waste and ADREC.  MSU’s anaerobic digester is one of the few on campus in nation and works closely with ADREC for monitoring the operational and performance parameters. ADREC manager Sibel Uludag-Demirer, Ph.D., and her team also provide research and consulting opportunities and data analysis to farmers and industry looking to improve their waste and nutrient management of wastewater or waste products on the farm.  

“In ADREC, we are not only carrying out standard biological tests of the samples, but also help the clients use and understand the results correctly.” said Uludag-Demirer. “We also carry out research that is focused on anaerobic digester performance optimization and operate pilot scale digesters for specific feedstocks at the optimum conditions. In ADREC, we develop unique tailored proposals based on the needs of clients, and provide consultation to evaluate the outcomes.”  

The ADREC is providing services to farmers in Michigan and around the United States to help them utilize resources that were previously viewed as waste. Anaerobic digestion creates renewable resources, that will in turn, provide a revenue stream to offset the operational costs and provide revenue for the farm.  

 ADREC also hosts events and workshops throughout the year to showcase how farmers can incorporate more climate-smart farming practice. ADREC collaborates with partners, such as the MSU AgBioResearch, MSU Extension, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service. These events bring anaerobic digestion full circle, powering electric tractors and electric vehicles at the demonstrations.  

“As the technology for utilizing natural gas to produce power improves, methane-rich-biogas that is produced from anaerobic digesters are viewed from a new perspective associated with EVs.” said Uludag-Demirer. “Recently, ADREC team helped Dr. Wei Liao (ADREC Director) organize a workshop to introduce one of a kind waste-to-energy system involving the conversion of biogas to electricity using biogas produced from anaerobic digester fed by dairy manure. It was a great event and opportunity to illustrate powering the farm operations and doing it sustainably.”   

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