AgSTAR is an outreach program designed to reduce methane emissions from livestock waste management operations by promoting the use of biogas recovery systems. AgSTAR is a collaborative effort of EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Energy.
A biogas recovery system is an anaerobic digester that captures and combusts biogas to produce electricity, heat or hot water. Biogas recovery systems are effective at confined livestock facilities that handle manure as liquids and slurries, typically swine and dairy farms. Anaerobic digester technologies provide enhanced environmental and financial performance when compared to traditional waste management systems such as manure storages and lagoons. Anaerobic digesters are particularly effective in reducing methane emissions, but also provide other air and water pollution control opportunities.
AgSTAR provides an array of information and tools designed to assist producers in the evaluation and implementation of these systems, including:
- Conducting farm digester extension events and conferences
- Providing “How-To” project development tools and industry listings
- Conducting performance characterizations for digesters and conventional waste management systems
- Providing farm recognition for voluntary environmental initiatives
- Collaborating with federal and state renewable energy, agricultural, and environmental programs
For more detailed information on commercially available anaerobic digestion technologies and their costs, download Managing Manure with Biogas Recovery Systems: Improved Performance at Competitive Costs (PDF) (8 pp, 4.34MB, About PDF).
The AgSTAR Program has been very successful in encouraging the development and adoption of anaerobic digestion technology. Since the establishment of the program in 1994, the number of operational digester systems has grown to 176 systems across the United States. This growth has produced significant environmental and energy benefits, including in 2011 alone, approximately 541,000 MWh equivalent of energy generation. More information »
AgSTAR's efforts to promote the use of methane recovery (biogas) technologies extend beyond U.S. borders. AgSTAR collaborates with the Global Methane Initiative —an international initiative that focuses on advancing cost-effective, near-term methane recovery and use as a clean energy source. More information »
AgSTAR initiated a Partner program to establish stronger relationships with our state and non-governmental allies. More information »