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Feasibility of Fuel Cells for Energy Conversion on the Dairy Farm: Proposal to NYSERDA: On-farm Agricultural Innovation Program

By Stefan Jason Minott


Fuel cells running on digester biogas appear to be a missing piece of the sustainable dairy farming puzzle. This was indicated in the technical feasibility part of this thesis which showed that the production of electricity and heat from a fuel cell as well as the utilization of liquid and solid effluent streams from an anaerobic digester (which produces the biogas) form the basis for operating a total resource recovery (TRR) and integrated farm energy system. The results of the economic feasibility part suggest that large dairy farms (>500 cows) are a niche market for fuel cells. Because manure-derived biogas is pivotal for operating a fuel cell on the dairy farm, a moving coordinate model for predicting biogas production from a plug flow digester was developed. The model accurately predicted the approximately 1,274 m 3 /day (45,000 ft 3 /day) of biogas produced at AA Dairy, and does a better job of predicting real time biogas production than the popular or commonly used model. Modelling biogas production is the first phase toward defining each component in an integrated farm energy system. With about 2,549 m 3 /day (90,000 ft 3 /day) of biogas, produced by digesting th

Year: 2000
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