NYSERDA Assists American Biogas Conditioning with Launch of Biogas-to-Power Equipment

Technology Installed at Two Farms in Syracuse Region

August 21, 2012

Syracuse-based American Biogas Conditioning has launched a demonstration project at a dairy farm in Skaneateles, setting out to prove its technology can reduce the cost of generating electricity through anaerobic digestion.

Anaerobic digestion is a clean-energy process that can be used to generate electricity. Farm or other organic waste is placed in a sealed container and broken down by bacteria into a biogas predominately comprised of methane. The biogas is subsequently burned in an engine to produce electricity.

American Biogas makes equipment that removes hydrogen sulfide (H2S) from the biogas. If the H2S was not removed, the biogas would corrode engine gaskets and seals thereby reducing equipment life. American Biogas removes the H2S using bacteria, a new approach that costs about a tenth of current removal methods.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has been working with American Biogas for several years, and has provided $470,000 to help the company develop and test this energy-efficient technology.

“By investing in clean energy power technologies, we are not only helping to improve power reliability and reduce electric costs but we are also helping to grow the state’s clean-energy economy,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, these types of projects can lead to new technology that will greatly benefit our environment while stimulating economic growth.”

The firm was formed in 2009 and currently has six employees, with plans to expand up to 35 people in the next five years.

“When we started American Biogas, we were sure we could offer a much cheaper alternative to removing H2S from biogas, thus making anaerobic digestion more affordable,” said Kamyar Zadeh, President and CEO of American Biogas. “Now, thanks to NYSERDA and Twin Birch, we are going to prove it.”

The event took place today at the demonstration site located at Twin Birch Farms, a dairy farm in Skaneateles with an anaerobic digestion facility. With American Biogas’ device on the Twin Birch digester, the farm expects to reduce its processing costs. The system is designed to reduce H2S levels from 4,000 ppm (parts per million) to 100 ppm and save the facility $90,000 per year compared to conventional technology options.

“When Twin Birch first installed our anaerobic digestion processor eight years ago – thanks in part to NYSERDA funding – we knew we were making a huge step toward improving the farm’s energy efficiency and reducing our impact on the environment,” said Steve McGlynn, the farm’s business manager. “Now, we are just as thrilled to be a part of this joint project that includes American Biogas and NYSERDA, which will help reduce our environmental footprint even further.”

In addition to Twin Birch, American Biogas has launched demonstration projects at Roach Farm in Venice Center and at the Cayuga Regional Digester Facility in Auburn. All three projects will help the company refine its product.

New York State has seen a significant investment in the past few years in anaerobic digestion. This renewable energy resource has tremendous potential for growth and can reduce farming costs and help increase grid reliability. American Biogas’ H2S removal technology can help reduce the cost of electricity from these anaerobic digestion systems and encourage more installations throughout the state.

NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.

Last Updated: 12/09/2014