quasar energy group is banking on the promise of alternative energies and an abundance of farm, food processing and other biomass that can be converted to electricity, gas and heat.
The Cleveland company is developing that potential at Ohio State University's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster, where a bio-digester is currently supplying a third of the center's electricity needs. But the potential extends beyond the demonstration stage, quasar says. Its commercial digester in Zanesville is nearing completion and the company plans to break ground on a Franklin County facility in spring or summer.
Digesters heat biomass like manure, crop waste, food waste, or fats and greases to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which allows bacteria to turn the mixture into methane. The gas can then be used as fuel to generate electricity -- which in turn can then be sold to the local power company or used on site -- for example, on a farm. Farmers can also use the processed biomass as clean animal bedding or fertilzer. While farmers aren't widely adopting the technology today, Ohio produces enough biomass to support at least 7,000 digesters large and small, says Clemens Halene, vice president of engineering.
The company had its beginnings three years ago when Schmack BioEnergy of Germany built a digester to help KB Compost Services process bio-solids generated at the Akron wastewater treatment plant. Later, quasar spun off.
A recent $2-million Ohio Third Frontier grant is allowing quasar and the OARDC to research and develop next generation technology and new possibilities, such as auto or home heating fuel. The company recently added five positions, giving it 20 employees.
Sources: Clemens Halene and Caroline Henry, quasar energy group
Writer: Gene Monteith