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“The Why and Wherefore of Biogas Systems” Natural Gas without Fracking

January 28, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

Bob Hamburg, Director, Omega-Alpha Recycling Systems, Glenside, PA

Biogas, also called biomethane, waste gas or renewable gas, is produced by biological processes where microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. This process is called anaerobic digestion. (American Biogas Council) It works on all kinds of biodegradable material, including livestock manure, municipal wastewater solids, food waste, industrial wastewater and residuals, and FOG (“fats, oils and grease”). Through anaerobic digestion, these waste materials are converted to products including biogas, liquid fertilizer and sludge humus (used as fertilizer).

The benefits of biogas systems are abundant, including nutrient conservation, soil regeneration, sanitation (destruction of disease vectors), fossil fuel replacement, and reduction of indoor air pollution (when used to replace burning coal or biomass).

According to the 2012 report Renewable Biogas by Pike Research, biogas will play a key role in the emerging renewable energy market with power generation capacity from commercial biogas facilitates more than doubling by 2022. There are good reasons for this: Biogas is highly versatile. It can be used for heat and transportation, to produce electricity and in industrial applications (such as renewable energy production.) It can be produced and consumed on-site (like a biodigester on a farm that produces electricity from manure or a system at a landfill that produces fuel from waste that can be used by garbage trucks) or it can be distributed just like natural gas, using the same infrastructure.

With nearly 40 years’ experience in biogas systems, Bob Hamburg will share an overview of worldwide efforts toward practical anaerobic digestion systems. His primary focus is digester-greenhouse integration using smaller-scale biogas systems. In addition to broad worldwide experience with sustainable agriculture strategies, Bob has extensive experience in the design, construction and operation of symbiotically integrated systems involving anaerobic digesters, plant ponds and solar greenhouses. His presentation will include photos and descriptions of his own past and current projects. Bob holds a BS in Biology from Bucknell University and an MS in Appropriate Technology and Energy Management for Development from the University of Pennsylvania.

This will be our first meeting of the year, hope you can join us! After the meeting, plan to stick around and chat with friends old and new. We’re also interested in your ideas for MAREA speakers, activities and services. Light snacks will be served. Hope to see you there!

For questions, contact Vera Cole, <a>[masked]</a> or [masked].

Free DVD with MAREA membership  While supplies last, all new and renewing MAREA members will receive a free copy of “Saving Sunshine, Keeping the Lights on with Batteries and Solar Power,” the 30-minute DVD produced by MAREA this year with funding from the Berks Community Foundation and distributed by Bullfrog Films. It’s terrific film, offering an interesting and easily understood explanation of the electricity grid and distribution generation, especially the role of batteries with solar. MAREA is a 501(c)3 non-profit. Donations and memberships are how we keep the lights on. You can join at the meeting or anytime online. Thanks for your help. 


TEK Park
9999 Hamilton Blvd.
Breinigsville, PA 18031 us


Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (eastern PA)