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What is an Anaerobic Decomposition?

Anaerobic Decomposition, or Anaerobic Digestion, is a process where organic materials are placed in a container to be broken down by microorganisms. This system is able to handle a vast variety of organics such as livestock manure, municipal wastewater solids, and even fats, oils and greases. The materials that are stored break down, releasing a variety of gases such as methane. These gases can be processed into biogas, which can be used for heating and electricity, a replacement for natural gas, or as a new fuel source for transport.

In an anaerobic decomposing process, the materials are encased container, sealed from oxygen. The organisms begin breaking down the materials into sugars to make them accessible to other bacteria. This second group then converts these sugars into carbon dioxide, hydrogen, ammonia, and organic acids. After this, a third wave made up of methanogens convert these gases into methane and carbon dioxide.

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Other Sources

“Anaerobic Digestion Basics.” Energy.gov. http://energy.gov/eere/energybasics/articles/anaerobic-digestion-basics. Accessed July 5, 2016.

American Biogas Council. “What is Anaerobic Digestion.” American Biogas Council. https://www.americanbiogascouncil.org/biogas_what.asp. Accessed July 5, 2015.

DeBruyn, Jake and Don Hilborn. “Anaerobic Digestion Basics.” Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/07-057.htm. Accessed July 5, 2016.