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BGU and Florida Researchers Awarded Funding for Biogas

BGU and Florida Researchers Awarded Funding for Biogas

July 7, 2015

Alternative Energy, Press Releases, Robotics & High-Tech

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel and University of Florida (UF) researchers have been awarded a BARD (United States-Israel Bi-national Agricultural Research and Development Fund) grant to improve the production of biogas that supplies farms’ energy needs.

The goal of this project is to design guidelines for improved anaerobic digesters (biogas systems) for treatment in a wide variety of biomass feedstocks. Such digester designs will eliminate operational problems and enhance the use of a wide range of nutrient-rich feedstocks, thereby increasing farm revenues.

Farm-based biogas systems (or anaerobic digesters) have traditionally treated animal manure. The biogas produced is used onsite to supply a farm’s energy needs. But, manure by its very nature is a poor feedstock for anaerobic digestion.

Attractive renewable-energy credits in some countries have spurred tremendous growth in the number of digesters that co-digest manure with other feedstocks, such as corn silage. Adding co-feedstocks enhances the volumetric biogas productivity from the digester, leading to increased farm revenues.

The researchers will simulate particle-level and flow simulations associated with this new technology for continuous, high-solids, leach-bed anaerobic digestion at UF. They will be used to describe the flow of wet and dry, fibrous, flexible particles characteristic of biomass. The model validation, which will be conducted at Ben-Gurion University, will then be employed to describe the multiphase flow behavior within the new digester technology.

Grant recipient Prof. Haim Kalman of BGU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering is a world leader in solids handling and particle transport. He has served as the international scientific chair for the International Conference of Conveying and Handling of Particulate Solids for a decade, and in May chaired the international conference on this topic in Tel Aviv.

University of Florida researcher Prof. Jennifer Curtis heads a group with unique experience in simulating wet or dry, flexible, elongated fibrous materials. UF’s Prof. Pullammanappallil brings expertise and experimental facilities relevant to the anaerobic digestion process.

About United States-Israel Bi-national Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD)

BARD is a competitive funding program for mutually beneficial, mission-oriented, strategic and applied research of agricultural problems, jointly conducted by American and Israeli scientists. Most BARD projects focus on increasing agricultural productivity, particularly in hot and dry climates, and emphasize plant and animal health, food quality and safety, and environmental issues. BARD also supports international workshops. BARD offers fellowships for postdoctoral research, senior research scientists and graduate students. BARD is empowered to fund scientists affiliated with public or not-for-profit, private entities and to encourage the exchange of agricultural scientists, engineers or other agricultural experts.   For more information, visit www.bard-isus.com.


By supporting a world-class academic institution that not only nurtures the Negev, but also shares its expertise locally and globally, Americans for Ben-Gurion University engages a community of Americans who are committed to improving the world. David Ben-Gurion envisioned that Israel’s future would be forged in the Negev. The cutting-edge research carried out at Ben-Gurion University drives that vision by sustaining a desert Silicon Valley, with the “Stanford of the Negev” at its center. The Americans for Ben-Gurion University movement supports a 21st century unifying vision for Israel by rallying around BGU’s remarkable work and role as an apolitical beacon of light in the Negev desert.

About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev embraces the endless potential we have as individuals and as a commonality to adapt and to thrive in changing environments. Inspired by our location in the desert, we aim to discover, to create, and to develop solutions to dynamic challenges, to pose questions that have yet to be asked, and to push beyond the boundaries of the commonly accepted and possible.

We are proud to be a central force for inclusion, diversity and innovation in Israel, and we strive to extend the Negev’s potential and our entrepreneurial spirit throughout the world. For example, the multi-disciplinary School for Sustainability and Climate Change at BGU leverages over 50 years of expertise on living and thriving in the desert into scalable solutions for people everywhere.

BGU at a glance:  

20,000 students | 800 senior faculty | 3 campuses | 6 faculties: humanities & social sciences, health sciences, engineering sciences, natural sciences, business & management, and desert research.


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