Feeding the Pilot Digester, an update from the Algae Digester laboratory (AD-LAB)
Back of the Yards Algae Sciences and Bubbly Dynamics began operating our pilot-scale digester this month. This project simulates the conditions of our large-scale anaerobic digester, in order to facilitate testing of the liquid output for suitability as an input to the algae-production process.
Feeding an anaerobic digester requires an inoculant, similar to how a starter is needed for sourdough bread. We sourced our inoculant, which is what's inside all those blue jugs, from a dairy farm in Indiana. This beast is fed 5 liters a day of a nutritious but not very delicious "compost smoothie" made from general food waste from the building. It will take about six weeks for the liquid digestate to be sufficiently stable and consistent for testing.
When it's ready, we will process the digestate through a screwpress to separate the liquid from the solid. Then we will pump the liquid into mixotrophic and phototrophic bioreactors, in which BYAS will grow various types of algae.