In-Person Digester Operator School
May 15 – 16, 2023
Chicago, IL at BIOGAS AMERICAS
Each ABC Operator School event we offer is unique and distinct from the next. What makes this one special is we’ve dedicated an entire track for Operator School within the largest biogas conference and tradeshow in North America: BIOGAS AMERICAS. To attend, you simply need to register for the event and select the “Full Conference + Operator School” ticket.
In addition to operator school and the conference sessions, you’ll also have access to the country’s biggest tradeshow of biogas equipment and service providers. Our exhibitors love talking to operators, so please spend some time there and explore what’s on offer.
Finally, if you’re interested in Operator Certification, this course will help you meet 6 of 9 required modules, assuming you’ll attend the entire school. To complete the remaining modules, the other in-person Operator School will do that, or you can attend the virtual Operator School.
Included with registration: Breakfast and lunch, operator school networking dinner, access to the entire BIOGAS AMERICAS conference and tradeshow, PDH certificate by request.
Members: $950 (Operator School + Full Conference Ticket)
Non-Members: $1050 (Operator School + Full Conference Ticket)
* American Biogas Members will apply discount and checkout
Site tours help you solidify your classroom learning both by talking about application and learning about real operational challenges from the digester operators on each site. Plus, many operators don’t get to see a lot of digesters, and with every system different from the next, a lot can be learned by comparing other digesters to the ones you’re operating.
Since this Operator School is at BIOGAS AMERICAS, the largest conference and tradeshow in the US, the tour is a visit of the tradeshow floor filled with equipment and service providers. Several exhibitors are especially interested in connecting with operators, so we have a specific set of booths to visit during the designated times. Of course, you’re welcome and encouraged to spend more time on the tradeshow floor on your own in addition to the organized tours.
Module 1 - Fundamentals of Anaerobic Digestion
This is the foundation for everything operators and anyone in the biogas industry needs to know. As such, almost every course will include and start with this module. We’ll cover the 4 steps of AD including the actual chemistry and biology so you know what to test for; vocabulary and concepts like BOD and VFA/Alk ratios; how to monitor AD performance; and how the primary characteristics of different digesters require a different approach to their operations.
Module 2 - Applying the Fundamentals to Operations
In this module, you’ll learn how to both optimize the performance of a digester and perhaps more importantly, how to avoid digester failures
Module 3 - Math for Digesters
This module consistently ranks as the most valuable by our past students. For those of you who haven’t had math in a while, we’ll start slowly talking about how to keep track of units when doing your calculations, imperial/metric conversions, how to monitor overloads, converting biogas into energy values, and business considerations like determining the value of heat and electricity compared to renewable natural gas. Finally, we’ll walk you through how to determine whether you should accept a truckload of material that shows up at your door. Will the material make money or will it cost you more to deal with the water because there’s so little biogas potential in its contents?
Module 4 - Mechanical Systems
Although emphasis is often and rightly placed on the biological aspects of digester operation, it is important to remember that an AD system is primarily a MECHANICAL SYSTEM. Understanding how to make sure the mechanical systems are operating optimally is critical. We’ll cover receiving material, conveyance, storage and pre-treatment; then mixing, heating and gas handling; finally, we’ll take you through digestate separation, and handling the separated liquids and solids.
Module 5 - Hydraulics (pumps, mixers, etc.)
Some of our expert operators think we should spend a day and half on hydraulics because as operators, you’re handling hydraulic issues every day. But we’ve condensed the essentials of pumps, mixers, monitoring systems and more into a fraction of that time to raise your knowledge quickly and effectively.
Module 9 - Gas Utilization
For producing renewable natural gas or electricity, operating gas cleanup equipment is essential. This module covers H2S removal, biogas upgrading to RNG/pipeline quality, engines, and managing both gas and electrical interconnections with the local utility.
Module 13 - Career Development
In the biogas industry, the operators that have a reputation for high performing digesters are always in demand. We’ll cover the qualities that digester owners look for from their best compensated operators.
Montrose Enviornmental Group & ABC Board Chairman
University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh & ABC Director
Regenis & ABC Director
Sulzer Chemtech USA, Inc
Montrose Environmental Group
The American Biogas Council’s Operator Certification is the only digester certification offered in the US. Certified operators have higher performing biogas systems and more often avoid costly and sometimes smelly mistakes. For certification, operators must do three things: complete all 9 required modules in ABC Operator School, have 2,000 hours of operations experience, and pass ABC’s operator exam.
View all of our upcoming Digester Operator School courses.