Jan 26, 2022

Chopper Pump Completes 8 Years of Service at Largest US University Campus AD/Biogas Plant

The pump is designed with a knife system at its inlet which reduces solids in size, with no clogging or blockages.

fats oils grease

A facility at Michigan State University (MSU) is home to the largest U.S. university campus AD/Biogas plant.

According to Process and Control Today, a chopper pump made by Landia has now completed eight years of continuous service. This service occurs in a food waste and FOG (fats, oils and greases) reception pit.

The facility converts over 22,000 tons of food waste annually into renewable energy. It opened in 2013 and was complete with the Landia Chopper Pump (model DG-I 105). The food waste comes from campus dining halls and local food processors as well as manure from MSU’s dairy farm, reported Process and Control Today. 

The facility contributes towards the process of generating 2.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year from the organic waste. The Chopper Pump reduces particle sizes and transfers approximately 5,000 to 10,000 gallons per day into the digester mix tank.

“Considering the amount of delivered food waste we receive that is contaminated with gloves, bags, dishes and various other debris, the Landia Chopper Pump continues to prove reliable,” said Louis Faivor, farm assistant manager at MSU, South Campus anaerobic digester operator, reported Process and Control Today. 

The pump is designed with a knife system at its inlet which reduces solids in size, with no clogging or blockages.

“Since the plant opened eight years ago, we have managed to reduce contamination levels, but food waste is always susceptible to debris that can damage equipment,” added Dana Kirk, an associate professor from MSU’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, who oversees the AD operation, reported Process and Control Today. “The more we can keep the trash out, the longer time period we can go without replacing wear parts. The second rebuild was common wear parts, including the impeller and seals. It is very tough indeed.”

A separate reception pit contains cow manure from the MSU Dairy Teaching and Research Center, reported Process and Control Today. 

The food waste transferred by the Landia Chopper Pump is sourced from: campus dining halls, food processing and manufacturing facilities in southern Michigan, and FOG from local restaurants. The feedstocks from both the manure and food waste reception pits are pumped into the 10,000-gallon mix tank and then blended.

Only about 20% power is needed to sustain the AD process and the rest offsets energy consumption in 10 MSU south campus buildings. Ultimately, the fertilizer created through the biogas operation is used on agricultural land.

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