22 PDH
Virtual Digester Operator School

February 1-27, 2024
1pm-4pm* ET Tuesdays/Thursdays

This February, ABC will be holding our only planned virtual ABC Operator School program this year. Designed to help operators optimize their biogas systems and reduce costly mistakes, students will attend seven afternoon sessions throughout the month, covering 9 modules and 22 PDH hours of training from the industry’s most expert operators. You’ll learn the skills you need to excel on the job as a digester operator, including how to repair, maintain, and troubleshoot biogas system components.

Our virtual platform will allow you to video chat with instructors and fellow students face-to-face just by turning on your camera and microphone, no travel required! We’re especially excited to share our 360 degree tour of two digesters, given by the actual operators running those sites. These tours allow your operators to ask meaningful questions and gain a firsthand experience of a successful anaerobic digester system.

ABC’s Operator Training School is required coursework in order to participate in ABC’s Operator Certification Program, which is a form of accreditation for digester operators and the only such certification in the US. This class covers ALL requires modules for certification. As the biogas industry grows, policymakers may soon require anaerobic digesters to be run by certified operators. Keep your operators on the cutting-edge by getting them certified after the course.

*On February 1, the session will end at 5 pm ET. 



Full Program
22 PDHs

Included with registration: All 9 required modules for operator certification, plus two virtual site tours, and networking opportunities online with your instructors and fellow students. No travel required.. PDH certificate by request.

Members: $1,500
Non-Members: $1,800

Single Sessions
3 PDHs each

Choose your own sessions to complete your educational requirements for ABC Operator Certification or to brush up on the modules you need the most help with. 

Members: $200*
Non-Members: $350


February 1

February 6

February 8

February 13

February 15

February 22

February 27


Modules 1, 2, & 6

Module 3

Modules 4 & 5

Module 8.1

Module 8.2

Module 7

Module 9


The Fundamentals of Anaerobic Digestion; Applying the Fundamentals;
Lab Testing

Math for Digesters

Mechanical Systems; Hydraulics



Odor Management & Prevention; Virtual Site Visit

Gas Utilization


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 6 - Lab Testing. What does it all mean?

We’re fortunate that our friends at UW-Oshkosh have one of the best labs in the biogas industry and that they are a dedicated teaching institution. As such, you’ll learn directly from the experts who run the lab to understand how to use lab work to help digester performance and to trouble shoot issues.  Plus, we’ll help you learn how to apply the results from the lab tests your order and what it all actually means.

Module 7 - Odor Management/Prevention

Odor management and prevention starts and ends with good digester operations. We’ll show you which operations in particular most relate to odor issues so you know what to focus on first. This module is often interlaced with story time—anecdotes of what went wrong at some digesters and how those issues could have been prevented or management more effectively. If you’d like to dive into this issue more, the ABC has a day long course called “Odor Management at Anaerobic Digestion Facilities” which is available on-demand, anytime online (https://americanbiogascouncil.org/odor-management-at-anaerobic-digestion-facilities/)

Module 8 - Safety

The safety module usually lasts a full day. We’ve offered to past students to try to reduce the time we spend on this important topic, but universally, we’re told, all this time is needed.  We’ll cover H2S dangers, lockout/tagout, operating in confined spaces, rescue procedures, hot work, flammable and explosive properties, hazard communications, process safety and security, MSDSes and more.

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.


Bernard Sheff

US Renewable Energy Development Capital & ABC Board Chairman

Brian Langolf

University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh

Craig Frear

Regenis & ABC Director

Jessica LeRoy


Chris Noah American Biogas Council Operator School Training Instructor
Chris Noah

Sulzer Chemtech USA, Inc

Craig Ruberti

Montrose Environmental Group

Operator Certification

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.

Upcoming Courses

View all of our upcoming Digester Operator School courses.