On Monday, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack toured Quasar Energy Group in Ohio to see the new technologies used to generate bigger supplies of biogas derived from cellulosic biomass like yard clippings and crop residue. USDA provided funding for the facility's development. The $1.3 million in Rural Energy for America Program funding and about $90,000 in a grant by the National Institute of Food and Ag was used to install an anaerobic digester processing nearly 25,000 wet tons of organic biomass a year to generate energy.
Anaerobic digester technology is a proven method of making waste products into electricity. The digester uses food wastes from local food producers, crop residuals, grass and manure from livestock operations of the Agricultural Technical Institute at Ohio State University. The digester can actually supply nearly one-third of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center's electricity needs.
Vilsack commends the leadership in Ohio for developing a prototype to reduce greenhouse gases and landfill disposal while offering the promise of significant increases in production of renewable energy from the effort. Anaerobic digesters used in dairy operations usually generate enough electricity to provide power to 200 homes.