Browse Publications Technical Papers 2005-01-3026
2005-07-11

Space-based SEBAC-II Solid Waste Management Technology for Commercial Application to Beet Sugar Industry 2005-01-3026

This paper describes an opportunity for commercial application of NASA space-based technology. Specifically, it describes application of the University of Florida's patented space-based SEBAC-II solid waste management technology to the US beet sugar industry. The project is entitled “Conversion of Biomass into Energy and Compost through Sequential Batch Anaerobic Composting”, and is being funded by the Xcel Energy Renewable Development Fund. It will be carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Florida in partnership with American Crystal Sugar Company (ACSC) of Moorhead, MN, and Minnesota Technology Inc. (MTI) in Minneapolis, MN.
American Crystal Sugar generates 400 tons of sugar beet tailings daily. These tailings are a waste by-product of the raw sugar beet receiving, handling and washing operations. Currently, the company pays to have this material hauled away at the rate of 16 truckloads per day. At the same time the company purchases 3 - 5 million cubic feet of natural gas daily to fire the rotary kiln dryers used in processing the spent beet pulp into animal feed pellets. Anaerobic digestion of the sugar beet tailings into methane and compost could substantially reduce the cost of energy and waste management for American Crystal Sugar.
This paper presents results from laboratory studies that were carried out to determine the feasibility of converting the waste beet tailings into methane gas and compost. Additionally, the paper will discuss projected economic feasibility for American Crystal Sugar, and impact to the US beet sugar industry.

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