Photo copyright K D Chamberlain Jim Currie holds nozzle and hose used to dispense compressed natural gas (CNG)
from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, press release March 28, 2012
Last February I wrote about the collaboration of OSU and Cleveland-based quasar energy group to produce natural gas from local, renewable & plentiful organic waste: chicken fat, rotten tomatoes, byproducts of making potato chips, yard trimmings and corn silage.
quasar built a facility in Zanesville to use OSU’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s (OARDC) patent-pending integrated anaerobic digestion system (iADs). The unique feature of the technology adds a solid-state or “dry” biodigester, complementing quasar’s current liquid biodigester.
It’s a great success story; you’ll find it at https://mytakeontoday.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/osus-patent-pending-anaerobic-digestion-technology-jobs-and-green-energy-for-ohio/
Recently, Clean Fuels Ohio gave $46,000 in funding to OARDC to have three Ford Fusion sedans, expected to be running in April, and a Ford F150 pickup truck, expected to be running later this summer, turned into bifuel vehicles, running on either gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG).
OARDC administrators will use the cars for regular travel between Wooster and OSU’s main campus in Columbus and to nine outlying research stations in Wood, Jackson as well as to Ashtabula counties.
The pickup will replace a truck wrecked by the 2010 Wooster tornado and will be used locally by the center’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering.
A requirement of the grant is that findings be reported to Clean Fuel Ohio. Dave Benfield, an OARDC associate director and one of the project’s planners, says, “Whatever information we gather, we’ll share publicly.
“As a university research center, we feel like we should be looking at (fuel) alternatives—that we should be doing this experiment. We’re doing it to see how well this alternative fuel works in what we call a road vehicle.”
Most of the CNG will be processed from an anaerobic digester that quasar energy group designed, built and operates on OARDC’s Wooster campus; some will come from a Columbus facility.
Not all of the CNG will be used for fueling vehicles. Some of the CNG produced by quasar’s Wooster digester produces about 30% of the electricity used on the main part of OARDC’s campus.
Quasar refines a portion of the gas into a higher-value CNG dispensed from stations at its Wooster and Columbus facilities from pumps resembling regular gasoline pumps.
Jim Currie, a leader of the project and the director of OARDC’s program to commercialize the center’s research, says, “I enjoy the opportunities presented by working with new partners—partners from outside the university who benefit from the interaction with our scientists and who are bringing new products to market. Not just new for the sake of new, but new for the sake of better.”
Regarding quasar and its biogas production, Currie said, “It’s gratifying to see their success.
“I find it fascinating and very cool that we can produce a portion of our energy from what is otherwise today a waste stream. You don’t have to pump it out of the ground. It’s not taken out of the food supply. This (use to make fuel) is all after the fact.”
A university facilitating the processing of garbage into biogas to fuel bifuel vehicles? Sounds like they’ve solved the alchemists’ ancient quest for the secret of turning dross into gold.
I’ll give you that, Jim—it’s truly fascinating and way cool.
Stay tuned for the facts and figures behind the $2.25/ gallon gas.