photo of construction site courtesy of quasar energy group

  from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, press release February 6, 2012

Cleveland-based quasar energy group broke ground at its Zanesville facility for its first integrated anaerobic digestion system.  The company operates biodigesters in Ohio and in Massachusetts.  The Zanesville facility annually processes almost 30,000 tons of agricultural and food waste, producing 7,800 megawatt-hours of electricity.

OSU’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) developed an integrated anaerobic digestion system, known as iADs.  The unique feature of the technology adds a solid-state or “dry” biodigester, complementing quasar’s current liquid biodigester.

The “dry” biodigester opens the door for the production of additional biogas from organic materials with high solids content, such as yard trimmings, crop residue, corn silage and lignocellulosic food waste.  These materials are not suitable for existing anaerobic digestion systems.

“iADs will allow quasar to accept and process a wider range of high-solids feedstocks,” says quasar president, Mel Kurtz, “including high-volume, off-spec and major market recall material—expanding our business to offer customers a full-service solution to their waste management challenges.  The partnership with OARDC applies research to improving the way we do business.”

iADs is the brainchild of Yebo Li, an OARDC biosystems engineer specializing in bioenergy and bio-products.  He predicts the new system will reduce transportation costs by increasing the amount of feedstock available for anaerobic digestion within a specific area,  iADs can also boost the amount of biogas generated at a biodigester.

Li explained further:  “Biogas comes from the solid nutrients present in the anaerobic digestion process.  Current liquid-phase anaerobic digesters used in the United States can process only up to 14% solids content.  My system has been successfully tested with 20-35% solids content, substantially increasing biogas production efficiency compared to existing systems.”

Because of the higher amount of solids the system can process, it will also generate a compost-like solid residue that can be used as fertilizer.

OARDC Director Steve Slack observed, “This is an excellent story of how fundamental research at The Ohio State University is transferred to a private company partner for the public good and the economic prosperity of Ohio.”

The iADs project received a $2,000,000 grant from the state of Ohio’s Third Frontier Advanced Energy Program in 2009.  The Ohio Department of Development’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act State Energy program also provided funding. 

Our tax dollars at work–and returning a nifty profit.



  1. I’m curious. From my understanding of chicken litter is very high in methane but it always has a cellulose component associated with it e.g. sawdust or wood chips. it seems it would be considered a hybrid fuel, not actually wet or dry? So, would chicken litter be a good candidate for a dry digester?

    Second, would there be any advantage in pelletizing the litter prior to digesting? For a lack of a better term “to make it drier?”

    I ask this question because pelletizing the litter could also creates an option to burn it as fuel for a steam generator like for wood pellets thus allowing dual options of methane extraction.

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