Through the magic of biology, anaerobic manure digestion turns livestock waste into energy that can help power a farm. The process collects and pumps livestock manure into a closed system that captures the biogas produced when microorganisms break down organic material. The energy in this gas can be converted into heat and electricity.
Minnesota’s livestock and poultry farmers can use anaerobic digestion to create a local, renewable energy from the manure their animals produce. In the Learn More section below, see examples of how anaerobic digestion is helping Minnesota farmers supplement their income, create disease-free bedding, reduce odor, and save money.
Anaerobic digestion comes with challenges, including the availability of equipment, construction and startup costs, and equipment failure if systems are not managed or maintained properly. However, it also comes with many economic and environmental benefits:
- Lower electrical, natural gas, and heating costs
- Income from selling excess energy back to the grid
- Enhanced fertilizer value of the digested manure
- Fewer pathogens in manure (e.g., fecal coliform bacteria)
- Less odor than raw manure
- More stable nitrogen readily available to crops
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions