Water treatment filtration ponds

Anaerobic Digestion and Organic Waste Management

Recycling Organic Waste into Fertilizer and Renewable Fuel

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Hear about the environmental and economic costs and benefits of anaerobic digestion from people working with this technology every day.


We interviewed digester operators, waste hauling companies, environmental regulators, developers, advocacy organizations, and gas and electric utilities to better understand the role of this technology in climate change mitigation, renewable energy generation, and organic waste management.

Learn  how anaerobic digesters can… 

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • capture biogas for renewable fuel
  • improve water quality
  • create recycled products
  • reduce landfill waste

Learn More About Anaerobic Digesters

When anaerobic digesters are used to control the process of organic decomposition, the biogas that is produced can be captured and used for heating, electricity production, or as a renewable natural gas to fuel vehicles, and waste materials can be recycled into useful lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

This project identifies the policies and business models promoting the economically viable and sustainable use of anaerobic digestion in agriculture and the food and beverage industry.

The Farm and Energy Initiative does NOT support the use and subsidization of anaerobic digestion at Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.

Participating students research federal and state policies governing waste management, energy generation, and pollution control, and conduct original research in the form of case studies and stakeholder interviews.

  • Agricultural run-off and “overflows” from municipal wastewater systems are significant sources of nutrient pollution in our waterways, causing dangerous algal blooms and eutrophication that kill fish and other wildlife.
  • Digesting manure, crop residues, food scraps, and food processing waste anaerobically can transform these sources of nutrient pollution into fertilizer, soil amendments, cow bedding, and other recycled farm products.
  • Digesters also capture methane that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. Using captured biogas as a renewable fuel reduces our reliance on fossil fuel natural gas, and uses the energy potential in the organic waste…instead of wasting it.
Frequently Asked Questions