Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. has started up its Fair Oaks, Indiana, demonstration and optimization facility. The system will allow Bion to demonstrate its core ammonia recovery technology at a commercial scale.
Bion will operate the integrated Ammonia Recovery System (ARS) in ‘startup mode’ for approximately one week, running liquids to check for pressure integrity and establish baselines. Once the startup phase is complete, the system will begin processing digestate, the manure residual after methane has been extracted through anaerobic digestion.
Bion anticipates it will take three to four weeks to achieve steady state operations and four to 12 weeks to produce repeatable operating data that is consistent with the requirements needed to support existing economic models.
“We are eager for startup at Fair Oaks, so that we can demonstrate our core technology at commercial scale and move forward with project development and financing, and continue building relationships with strategic partners in the beef and food services industries,” said Bill O’Neill, Bion’s CEO.
“We look forward to a Grand Opening in the next few weeks, once the system has reached steady state. We’ll keep our shareholders and interested stakeholders informed on our progress.”
The Fair Oaks system will provide the operating data Bion needs to complete final design of the larger systems that will treat the waste from the 15,000-head module(s) that comprise a Bion project.
That will allow Bion to move forward with project development, including financing and permitting, on sustainable beef projects that today include Dakota Valley Growers, Olson Feeders, and Ribbonwire Ranch. Ongoing, the system will provide a platform that Bion believes will further enhance and optimize the system to maximize its energy efficiency and economics.
The patented ARS is the core of Bion’s third generation (Gen3Tech) livestock waste treatment platform. The ARS captures, stabilizes, and upcycles ammonia nitrogen in the waste stream into high-value organic and low-carbon nitrogen fertilizers that can be precision applied, when and where needed.
Most of the nitrogen in livestock manure waste (and its fertilizer value) is in the form of ammonia. When exposed to air, ammonia evaporates and escapes to atmosphere, where its fertilizer value is lost, and it becomes a pollutant.
Bion estimates that current practices result in up to 80 percent of the nitrogen in livestock manure being lost in this manner. Once in the environment, ammonia is difficult and expensive to recapture, and it contributes to several significant environmental issues.
Anaerobic digestion (AD), where methane is produced from an organic waste stream, is also an integral part of Bion’s Gen3Tech platform. The AD process increases ammonia concentrations in the residual digestate. Bion’s Ammonia Recovery System is designed to recover more than 85 percent of the ammonia from that digestate.