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A feasibility study of a two-stage renewable energy harvester using rapid waste bio-degradation technologies

Daihong Yu, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Waste-based biomass energy using bio-degradation technologies is a critical solution for both energy harvesting and biomass waste recycling. It has no region restriction and can potentially supply affordable energy for human development. It is an environmentally- and ecologically- friendly renewable energy technology minimizing environmental effects, conserving landfill space, and delivering bio-fuels and organic fertilizers. Primary and secondary costs are low and can be further reduced if the bio-degradation rate can be raised. This study proposes an innovative, two-step renewable energy harvester using rapid waste bio-degradation technologies. The renewable energy harvester has two stages. Stage 1 is a fast biomass waste aerobic degradation system for generating bio-heat energy and effectively pretreating biomass feedstock to readily anaerobically biodegradable products. Stage 2 is a fast biomass waste anaerobic degradation system using the residuals from stage 1 for rapidly producing biogas energy and fertilizers. Laboratory feasibility testing shows that: 1) stage 1 can obtain a sustainable heat recovery rate of 15.0-18.2 W/kg and about 50-90% of energy can be reclaimed in about 4-6 days, 2) stage 2 can obtain an optimal 1.6-1.8 L of biogas production per L of wet biomass waste every day; 25-35% of energy contained in the aerobically pretreated wet biomass mixture can be recovered in 8-12 days. In total, with the combination of fast aerobic and anaerobic bio-degradation processes, the majority of biomass energy can be reclaimed in around two weeks. It is 5-10 times faster than that of traditional bio-degradation technologies. Wide use of this renewable energy harvester with rapid waste bio-degradation technologies for society can realize a number of benefits, such as producing renewable bio-heat and biogas energy for human life and development uses, saving limited, non-renewable fossil fuels, constantly delivering healthy bio-fertilizers, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, saving useable land, and protecting water and air quality.

Subject Area

Alternative Energy|Mechanical engineering|Environmental engineering

Recommended Citation

Yu, Daihong, "A feasibility study of a two-stage renewable energy harvester using rapid waste bio-degradation technologies" (2012). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3546820.