Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. Jaron Hansen and Research Group Reach Finals at Utah Innovation Awards

Posted: May 17, 2010

Dr. Hansen and his research group from BYU, including students Logan Shumway and Kade Lyman, were chosen as finalists at the 2010 Utah Innovation Awards Luncheon. The luncheon was held April 29, 2010, at the Marriott City Center in Salt Lake City.

More than 300 individuals attended the luncheon. Jason P. Perry, Chief of Staff for Governor Gary R. Herbert, provided opening remarks and Amanda Dickson, KSL Radio Announcer and Author, delivered the keynote address.
According to their website, “The eighth annual Utah Innovation Awards, presented by Stoel Rives LLP and the Utah Technology Council, recognizes significant innovations and the Utah companies that created them. The program is designed to draw attention to the high level of innovation taking place throughout the state.”
The competition was split into eight different categories, including the clean technology and energy category which Dr. Hansen’s team competed in. Their innovation is a biogas conditioning system. This system purifies biogas and sour gas.
The biogas conditioner helps with the process of converting organic waste like manure, grass clippings, paper, etc., into a renewable energy source. Anaerobic digesters have bacteria inside of them to digest the waste, which creates methane gas, CO2, H2S and water vapor. If you were to put those byproducts straight into an electrical generator it would cause serious corrosion. The biogas conditioner purifies the output of the anaerobic digester so that only methane gas is left. The methane is then transferred to the generator to be converted into energy.
Dr. Jaron Hansen, along with Dr. Lee Hansen and Jason Miller are the founders of the company behind this technology.  The company is called Anaerobic Digestion Technologies. They are currently working on several different projects to turn waste into energy using this technology.
One of the projects is with a dairy in Elberta, Utah on a project to use the manure from cows as energy. The waste from 8,000 cows has the potential to generate 1.2 megawatts of electricity. That’s enough to power 1,200 homes for an entire day!
Other projects include taking used cooking oil from the BYU cafeterias, and algae from ponds in Cache Valley to turn that waste into energy.
By Cory Renshaw
Photo courtesy of Jaron Hansen (L to R: Jaron Hansen, Lee Hansen, and Jason Miller with their biogas conditioner)