Biogas Subject Matter Experts

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SMEs contacted

  1. Hamed El-Mashad, Cooperative Research, Lincoln University
  2. Thor Bailey, current: Business Development, Green Capital Network LLC; past: President, Ag Biomass Center (2004-2011)
    • Thor has 30 years of diverse experience in all biomass conversion technologies, feedstock contracts and in conventional and organic farming. Bailey participates as a strategic partner and expert in project marketing, training and PR for feedstock channels and biomass conversion systems. He participates as a speaker and panelist for many biomass renewable energy conferences and forums throughout California. He is politically proactive and an advocate, creating energy policy incentives working through state agencies and the academic community. The Ag Biomass Center brings together biomass industry innovators & groups for biomass systems development within California.
  3. David W. House, Author, The Complete Biogas Handbook
  4. Hanafi Fraval
    • Hanafi has spent the past 13 years on environment-positive technologies and biomass waste conversion. He is Chairman of Ag Biomass Center was president of Innate Energy California, LLC, (IEL) a company working on advanced anaerobic digester systems in California. IEL built its first commercial digester in Oregon, and completed all the contracts and project assembly for a new co-digestion facility at a 1000+ cow dairy in Sacramento County, CA. He is now focusing on several other agricultural-waste opportunities in California and on the development of the Ag Biomass Center.


Hamed El-Mashad

From: El-Mashad, Hamed Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2012 8:16 AM To: Pierce, James Subject: SARE research and Education

Hello Jim, Hope all goes well. I will work on a preproposal for a SARE Research and Education grant. As you know, a few farmers should be involved in the project. Do you know a few farmers who might be interested in biogas technology. The idea of the proposal is to use our pilot plant at LU to optimize the system and then we can install a system on a farm as a demonstration and as education for several other farms. Please let me know Thanks Hamed

Best regards, Hamed El-Mashad, Ph.D./ Assistant Professor/ Cooperative Research / 314 Foster Hall/ 904 Chestnut St./ Lincoln University/ Jefferson City, MO 65101/ Phone 573- 681-5963/ Fax: 573-681-5955/


Dear Hamed,

We want to power our farm with biogas. We want to power our CEB Press with biogas in converted Power Cubes. Is your scope also to do biogas burn in engines? We are interested in that as an immediate route to off-grid electricity generation, in addition to cooking. Do you know any other subject matter experts on biogas systems that include electrical production? I know only one person in the USA who has a biogas electric on the 1 kW scale, but is not willing to share the technology. We are open source. Marcin

David W. House

--Forwarded message -- From: David William House Date: Sun, Sep 16, 2012 at 5:08 PM Subject: Re: Collaboration on building an open-source biogas digester at our farm To: Kavitha Swaminathan

On 9/10/2012 10:10 AM, Kavitha Swaminathan wrote: > Hello David, > I'm writing to you on behalf of Open Source Ecology... I'm familiar with it.

> ...we are considering a biogas digester as a viable option to produce cooking gas and electricity.

There is an enormous difference in the amount of organic matter needed to provide enough biogas for cooking fuel and enough to provide fuel for a genset to produce electricity. Cooking fuel would be in the range of, say, 250-750 liters per person per day, whereas it is not clear that anything less than 30-50 cu m per day-- minimum-- is sufficient to provide really practical amounts of electricity. (The rule of thumb is that it would take about 500 liters per HP per hour.) Translated into vol of organic matter, imagine that the vol of the digester would be roughly equal to the expected daily biogas production where the temp of the digester is kept within about 10 deg C of body heat; that one is putting in approx equal vols of water and organic matter; and that one is putting in a volume of slurry equal to the reciprocal of the retention time [RT] on a daily basis. I have not researched the density or pct solids of "grass clippings," but in the case of food waste, for a 10 cu m digester at 12% solids, RT = 40 da, one would need a bit more than 200 kg/da on a wet weight basis.

> We are looking for a Subject Matter Expert who can advise us, design and oversee the building of such a system. I would like discuss our biogas project further with you, given your expertise, if you'd be willing to collaborate with us on building an industrial quality biogas plant on our site and make it open source (in line with our mission).

Yes: I have in mind a design that could be used for small farms in the US, which could easily be DIY, and which would make use of silage bags as the material for the digester. (And there are some related tools that would need to be constructed, such as a heat sealer.) However, I have not considered scaling it above 30 cu m up to the present, which means that I could confidently assert that it would be quite practical for providing energy for uses involving stationary and direct combustion, but I would be more equivocal in asserting that it would provide mobile fuel or electricity without some caveats.

I have strong reasons for participating, as well. For the most part, these grow from the fact that my primary aim as regards biogas is to produce a set of circumstances that I hope will drive the development of a small digester revolution-- do forgive me if that is too grand a word-- in the developing world. The design at the heart of that effort, like the above-mentioned small farm digester is made from durable (UV-resistant) plastic, although based on the needs in the overseas context, such digesters would range from 1 to perhaps as much as 8 cu m. The key point is that these digesters-- although they would only last from 2 or 3 to perhaps 5 or 6 years-- would be as cheap as possible, @ $20-$30 retail. (This contrasts with the lowest generally quoted cost of an underground masonry digester, at $350 ea., although they may last 20 years.) Biogas has a well-known and powerful catalytic effect on lifting people from poverty-- increasing health, reducing expenses, improving educational opportunities, improving gender equality-- and all of these benefits would obviously be experienced by far more people where both charitable and capitalist endeavors aim at providing such low-cost digesters. (There is much more I might say about this, but let me leave it there for the moment.)

What I want, related to this effort, is to have better means of communicating the ideas behind this effort (including such rather mundane things as better drawings and documentation), and the development or evolution of tools both for manufacture and for best use of the digesters, including such things as better heat sealers and hand- or wind-powered shredders. I think these aspirations on my part are roughly parallel with your effort, albeit rather more narrowly focused.

Second, the fact is that I need more time to work on these things, and an increase in the sale of books would help me achieve that. I would therefore appreciate if there were appropriate mentions thereof, and a modest number of links to the book's site, again where appropriate.

> I'd love to set up a call with you to talk about our work... >Best regards, Kavitha

<snip> Be well.

d. -- David William House The Complete Biogas Handbook - / "Make no search for water. But find thirst, And water from the very ground will burst." (Rumi, a Persian mystic poet, quoted in Delight of Hearts, p. 77)