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th0012Anaerobic digestion is a naturally occurring biological process that uses microbes to break down organic material in the absence of oxygen. In engineered anaerobic digesters, the digestion of organic waste takes place in a special reactor, or enclosed chamber, where critical environmental conditions such as moisture content, temperature and pH levels can be controlled to maximize gas generation and waste decomposition rates.

Landfills generating noxious odors are often demonstrations of the impact of organic waste digestion in an enclosed environment with little or no oxygen. However, in the case of anaerobic digestion technology, the gases are captured, so odors are greatly reduced. Commercial anaerobic digestion systems can replicate this natural process in an engineered reactor that produces methane gas much faster (2-3 weeks compared to 30-100 years) then anaerobic conditions in a landfill. 

One of the by-products generated during the digestion process is biogas, which consists of mostly methane (ranging from 55% to 70%) and CO2. The benefit of an AD process is that it is a net generator of energy. The excess energy produced by the AD facility, which is not required for in-plant operations, can be sold off-site in the form of heat, steam or electricity. The level of biogas produced depends on several key factors including the process design, the volatile solids in the feedstock (composition of the feedstock) and the carbon/nitrogen (C:N) ratio. Each of these factors is discussed in more detail below.

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Did you know?

that Pytheas the ancient Greek explorer, mathematician, astronomer and navigator must have travelled to the American continent at the time of Alexander the Great?

that in a lifetime the average European or North American will discard more than 600 times his or her adult weight in garbage and about a ton of trash per person per year?

that Pytheas has presence in 41 countries?

that recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, and 4000 kilowatt hours of electricity; this is enough energy to power the average North American home for 5 months?

that every year, Americans buy more than 100 million cell phones, yet fewer than 20% of old cell phones are recycled and that recycling just a million cell phones reduces greenhouse gas emissions equal to removing 1,368 cars off the road for a full year?

that Confucius about 2,500 years ago argued that the government should not compete for profit with the people, as it would only result to the exploitation of the population?

that annually, the amount of garbage that is dumped in the world’s oceans is three times the weight of fish that is caught from the oceans?

that of all the restaurants that are opened, 90% of them fail in the first year and of the remaining ones that survive, 90% of those fail in the second year?

that Pytheas through its Soil Water + Life Solutions is probably the only entity world wide that can provide a-no-chimney-no-landfill-solution for the treatment of municipal solid and liquid waste?

that recycling steel saves 75% of the energy that would be used to create steel from raw materials, enough to power 18 million homes?

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