Reading, Pennsylvania – October 12th, 2017 – Why aren’t all farms that process manure with anaerobic digesters making renewable energy? Biogas, a byproduct of anaerobic digestion, can be combusted in an engine to generate electricity. However, its utilization is often problematic and inefficient. Straight from the digester, biogas is corrosive, laden with moisture, and has only half the methane content of pipeline natural gas, leading some livestock and dairy farms to forego subpar power generation and flare biogas instead.
This waste of waste gas inspired motor and engine manufacturer Duryea Technologies to design the MODE Power System, a new generator set intended to handle the inherent liabilities of biogas. Duryea has sold its first production run of MODE (Modular On-Demand Energy) units and sites will be online by the end of 2018.
Dan Sodomsky, Duryea Technologies’ CEO, feels the product’s most important feature is its separate lubrication system, sealed from acidic combustion gases, which he says will eliminate frequent oil changes and reduce the rate at which parts wear. He also notes Duryea’s substantial investment in tough surface treatments and materials like ceramics and stainless steel for engine components in contact with biogas.
While confident that farmers will be pleased with the MODE Power System’s low-maintenance protocol, Sodomsky acknowledges the challenges of convincing the market to try something new.
“Farmers are skeptical because of their prior frustrations with biogas engines. We’re doing our best to mitigate their risk by providing all 2017 sites with five years of service, parts, oil and a product guarantee so the cost of ownership is a known quantity.”
Feasibility for small-scale agriculture, a market that faces more difficulty in making waste-to-energy profitable, was also a design goal. The smallest installation size is 16kW and requires 8,000 cubic feet of biogas per day, typically produced by a herd size of 100 cows. By adding modules, a system is infinitely scalable into the megawatts, but Duryea Technologies fields the most inquiries from dairy farms with 400-800 cows that require 60-200kW.
On matters of efficiency, the company touts the incorporation of Duryea brushless (BLDC) generators. The DC output can be fed directly into a standard inverter, simplifying interconnection and freeing the engine from the task of grid synchronization so it can operate at a speed optimized for fuel efficiency and durability.
At off-grid locations, or where exporting power is not feasible, Duryea BLDC generators, historically used in hybrid vehicle applications, are suited to charging battery banks or can be configured with VFDs to power equipment directly.
Duryea Technologies, founded in 1996, is located in Reading, Pennsylvania and manufactures all products in the United States utilizing a local supply chain. Detailed information can be found on the MODE product page.
Please contact us if your farm is interested in an on-site evaluation, or if your company would like to install or distribute the MODE Power System .