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Online AgSTAR Digest: Winter 2008

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Thank you to our conference sponsors!

  • Sacramento Municipal Utility District
  • Northeast Energy Systems
  • Western Energy Systems
  • Firestone Specialty Products
  • GHD, Inc.
  • QuestAir Technologies

Another Great Conference for AgSTAR

Mark Moser of RCM International, the system designer, discusses the pilot hydrogen sulfide removal system in place at Castelanelli Brothers' Dairy.

Mark Moser of RCM International, the system designer, discusses the pilot hydrogen sulfide removal system in place at Castelanelli Brothers' Dairy.

More than 340 people attended AgSTAR's Annual National Conference, held on November 27-28, 2007, in Sacramento, California. AgSTAR would like to thank the speakers, sponsors, exhibiters, and attendees for helping to make this year's conference another great success. Each year as the attendance grows, so does the opportunity for networking and learning. The increase in participation affirms growing interest in anaerobic digester technology throughout the country.

Susan Brown from the California Energy Commission was the keynote speaker at the event. She discussed the expanding role of livestock manure biogas in California's BioEnergy Plan. Other presentation topics and speakers included:

If you missed the conference, the presentations are available on the Conference website.

Fred and Cathy Denier (and son Michael), Cal-Denier Dairy, provide an overview of the digester operation at their Galt, California dairy.

Fred and Cathy Denier (and son Michael), Cal-Denier Dairy, provide an overview of the digester operation at their Galt, California dairy.

Larry Castelanelli, owner of Castelanelli Brothers Dairy in Lodi, California, talks with tour participants.

Larry Castelanelli, owner of Castelanelli Brothers Dairy in Lodi, California, talks with tour participants.

Additionally, 140 conference attendees visited the Castelanelli Brothers Dairy and the Cal-Denier Dairy to view their anaerobic digester systems. AgSTAR would also like to thank Larry Castelanelli and Fred and Cathy Denier for serving as hosts and contributing to the success of this part of the conference.


This year's exhibitors included:

Avatar Alternative Energy
Baumgartner Environics, Inc.
Biogas Energy Inc.
Biogas Nord
Biothane Corp.
California Air Resources Board
EcoSecurities
Electrigaz Technologies Inc.
Engineered Storage Projects, Inc.
Environmental Credit Corp.
Environmental Fabrics, Inc.
EnviTec Biogas AG
Ferris Baker Watts
Firestone Products
First Capitol Risk Management
GHD, Inc.
GSE Construction
Guild Associates, Inc.
ITT Flygt Corp.
Kemira Water

Layfield Environmental Systems
Northeast Energy Systems
Phase 3 Developments & Investments, LLC
PG&E
QuestAir Technologies
RCM International
RealEnergy, LLC
Renewable Technologies, Inc.
Sacramento Municipal Utility District
Sage Metering
Schmack BioEnergy
Selective Inc.
Stoel Rives LLP
Sustainable Technologies
U.S. Dept. Agriculture Rural Development
Vaughan Co., Inc.
Vilter Manufacturing
Waste Energy Solutions
Western Energy Systems

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Energy Bill Signed

Signed into law on December 19, 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (PDF) (310 pp, 738K), created several new programs related to renewable energy, including ones that could support anaerobic digesters. New programs that may create interest and financial incentives for anaerobic digester produced biogas include:

Notably, the final signed version of the Act did not extend the expiration dates of either the Renewable Electricity Production Credit (REPC) or the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, two federal incentives of which anaerobic digesters are an eligible renewable energy resource. The REPC placed-in-service deadline was last extended through December 31, 2008 under the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006. The Clean Renewable Energy Bonds were created under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the bonds can be issued until December 31, 2008.

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EPA Establishes New Digester Gas-Fired Engine Rules

In the future, all new digester gas-fired engines will be subject to emission limits for nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and volatile organic compounds (VOC). On January 18, 2008, the U.S. EPA promulgated a new source performance standard (NSPS) for stationary spark ignition internal combustion engines (40 CFR part 60, subpart JJJJ) and revised national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for reciprocating internal combustion engines (40 CFR part 63, subpart ZZZZ). The previous NESHAP applied only to new engines with a maximum power output greater than or equal to 500 horsepower (hp) that were located at a major source of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Major sources are sites that emit 10 tons per year of a single HAP or 25 tons per year of all HAPs combined from all sources at the site. Sites with fewer emissions are defined as area sources. However, digester gas-fired engines greater than or equal to 500 hp (as an engine-generator set, this equates to approximately 300-355 kilowatts of generator power output) were subject only to limited recordkeeping and reporting requirements under the prior rule. The newly published limits apply to new digester gas-fired engines of any size at both major and area sources.

The emission limits are identical under the NSPS and NESHAP. The limits are 3.0 g NOx /hp-hr, 5.0 g CO/hp-hr, and 1.0 g VOC/hp-hr. The applicability dates vary depending on the engine and the date it was manufactured (see table below). The NOx limits will become more stringent for new units in the future. Other emission limits apply to engines less than 25 hp and to engines combusting gasoline, natural gas, and LPG.

Digest Gas-Fired Engine Maximum Power Output (hp) Date of Manufacture1
Lean Burn Non-Lean Burn
25 – 499 July 1, 2008 July 1, 2008
500 – 1,349 January 1, 2008 July 1, 2007
>1,350 July 1, 2007 July 1, 2007
1 Compliance is required after these dates.

Compliance can be achieved by purchasing an engine that is certified by the manufacturer as being compliant for use with digester gas. In addition, engine owners must follow the manufacturer's recommendations for maintenance and retain maintenance records. Owners also must submit an initial notification to the state or local air pollution permitting authority. For new engines that are not certified by the manufacturer or those combusting a fuel other than the fuel for which the engine was certified, owners and operators must conduct performance testing to demonstrate compliance with the emission standards. The rules do not apply to existing engines unless they are modified or reconstructed (routine maintenance will not trigger applicability).

The new rules, in and of themselves, will not trigger the need for a federal operating permit at area sources. A federal operating permit will be required only if the source is required to obtain a permit for other reasons. More information about the rule can be found on EPA's Technology Transfer Network website.

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State Anaerobic Digester Grant Awardees

Indiana

I Power Energy Systems announced that it has been awarded one of several grants made by the Indiana Office of Energy and Defense Development through its Biomass Feasibility Study Program. The I Power program addresses the use of animal waste from both swine and dairy operations in the Benton County area to produce the heat and electricity for farm operations using anaerobic digestion and gasification technology. Also addressed in the study will be environmental improvements including nutrient load reduction in soils and odor and ground water issues, reduced use of landfill space, and the reduced use of transportation fuels for wastes. This program utilizes the I Power combined heat and power units that have been developed specifically for biogas applications. The I Power team on this program includes Phase 3 Developments & Investments.

In a time of rising energy costs and increased energy supply volatility this program provides the basis for a diversified portfolio of resources to produce energy and have a positive impact on farm operating economics. These studies will also serve as a foundation for applications for federal farm bill funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Bill Section 9006 program.

Source: I Power Energy Systems, I Power Receives Biomass Grant, Inside INdiana Business, January 3, 2008.

Pennsylvania

In November 2007, Pennsylvania awarded a $600,000 Energy Harvest Grant to support an anaerobic digester project at Bortnick Dairy (Conneautville, Pennsylvania). The system is projected to produce 247,840 kilowatt hours of electricity monthly. Dairy cattle manure will be co-digested with waste from a nearby dog food manufacturer. Bortnick Dairy also was granted approximately $357,000 of Farm Bill funding to help support the project. The farm is working with RCM Digesters Inc. on the project.

Pennsylvania also granted $139,900 toward an additional generator for an existing anaerobic digester system at Hillcrest Saylors Dairy Farm (Rockwood, Pennsylvania). The extra generator will allow the digestion of additional food residuals without flaring excess methane. The increased biogas production is expected to produce an additional 75,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.

Sources: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, "Governor Rendell Announces Energy Harvest Grants," November 13, 2007; Kathy Mellot, "Cambria, Somerset Get Energy Grants," The Tribune-Democrat, November 16, 2007; and Associated Press, "Crawford Co. Dairy Farm to Generate Electricity from Manure," Calkins Media, Inc., December 2, 2007.

Wisconsin

In November 2007, Wisconsin's Focus on Energy awarded grants totaling $1.5 million to eight farms in the state to implement anaerobic digester projects. Larry Krom, project manager for Focus on Energy, estimates the funded projects will be able to generate 3 megawatts of electricity. The following dairy farms were awarded grants to help them complete their anaerobic digestion projects:

* These farms have also been awarded Farm Bill funding support.

Source: Focus on Energy, "Focus on Energy Awards Grants for Renewable Energy Projects," November 19, 2007.

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Huckabay Ridge Operational

On November 5, 2007, Environmental Power Corporation, with subsidiary Microgy, celebrated the opening of what has been billed the largest renewable natural gas facility in the country. The project will offset the consumption of fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to the sustainability of Texas dairies. Located in Stephenville, Texas, the Huckabay Ridge facility generates methane-rich biogas from manure and other wastes, which it processes to natural gas standards and distributes via a commercial pipeline.

Huckabay Ridge is expected to produce approximately 635,000 Million British Thermal Units (MMBtus) of renewable natural gas per year, which is the energy equivalent of about 4.6 million gallons of heating oil. It processes the manure from approximately 10,000 dairy cows, as well as food and other agricultural wastes from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Through October 2008, Huckabay Ridge will deliver the gas to the Lower Colorado River Authority, after which Pacific Gas & Electric will purchase the plant's output for the next ten years.

A local news program produced a video of the project, which is available online.

Source: ACORE Member Update, "Manure-To-Methane-Rich Bio Gas, by Environmental Power," November 2, 2007.

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Digest Project News

Environmental Power Corporation

Environmental Power Corporation's newest project broke ground on December 11, 2007. Their subsidiary, Microgy, Inc., will construct, own, and operate an energy production facility at the JBS Swift Beef processing facility in Grand Island, Nebraska. The facility will use anaerobic digestion to convert animal waste and other byproducts of the JBS Swift plant into a methane-rich biogas to be used as fuel in the plant's existing boilers. At capacity, the facility is expected to generate 235,000 MMBtu per year—the energy equivalent of 1.7 million gallons of oil—and will offset approximately 25 percent of JBS Swift's annual purchase of natural gas. The system will consist of two 1.2 million gallon digesters, as well as a purification system that cleans the gas prior to use.

Source: Renewable Energy Access.com, "Environmental Power to Open Biogas Facility," December 13, 2007.

Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and Jordan Dairy Farm

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative awarded $39,000 to Jordan Dairy Farm (Rutland, Massachusetts) from its Renewable Energy Trust. The project team will investigate the economic and technical feasibility of forming a Massachusetts Dairy Energy cooperative consisting of five larger Massachusetts dairy farms. The cooperative would be structured to produce and aggregate the renewable power, carbon credits, and marketable byproducts from manure and dairy processing waste. The project would use onsite anaerobic digesters that are remotely monitored and maintained by the technology providers.

Source: Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Jordan Dairy Farm / Mass. Dairy Energy Cooperative Biogas Feasibility Study, December 3, 2007.

Minnesota Project and Jennisen Dairy Farm

In December 2007, a 13' x 30', 24,000 pound anaerobic digester arrived at the Jennisen Dairy Farm in Stearns County, Minnesota. The Minnesota Project initiated this project to test the economic viability of a modified complete mix digester design on smaller farms. The Jennisen Dairy Farm has a milking herd of 135 cows. The digester is expected to produce twice as much electricity as the farm will need. The extra power will be sold to Stearns Electric Association at the retail rate. Funding for this project was provided by the Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources, USDA Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the North Fork Crow River Watershed District, Stearns Electric, and the Jennissens.

Source: Dave Simpkins, "Jennissens Receive Methane Digester," Sauk Centre Herald, December 18, 2007.

Panda Ethanol

Panda Ethanol Inc. announced on December 6, 2007, that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has granted an air permit for the company's planned 115 million gallon-per-year ethanol refinery in Sherman County, Texas. At the refinery, methane derived from the manure of approximately 500,000 cows will be burned to generate the steam for processing corn into ethanol. The plant plans to produce the methane from 1 billion pounds of manure per year through the use of anaerobic digestion. The facility will be designed to annually refine an estimated 38 million bushels of feedstock-grade corn into a clean-burning, renewable fuel for the nation's transportation needs, which would displace approximately 2.6 million barrels of foreign oil a year.

Currently Panda Ethanol is focused on completing its Hereford, Texas facility, which is the same design as the Sherman County facility. The plant has contracts in place for manure from local cattle feed yards and is expected to be on line in the first quarter of 2008. The company has delayed start of construction of the Sherman County facility while it awaits changes in the ethanol market.

Sources: Dallas Business Journal, "Panda Gets Approval for Sherman Refinery," December 6, 2007 and Panda Ethanol Inc., "Panda Ethanol Receives Air Permit for Sherman County Refinery: Biomass Used to Fuel Plant," December 6, 2007.

E3 Biofuels

E3 Biofuels-Mead LLC's closed-loop Nebraska ethanol plant powered by biogas derived from cow manure is currently shut down due to financial difficulties. The company filed for bankruptcy in November 2007. The company's plant in Mead, Nebraska, suffered an explosion in a boiler earlier in the year. That kept the 25 million gallon per year plant running only at about half capacity, a source close to the plant's operations said in an interview. He said the plant has shut until it can get finances in order. The novel closed-loop system worked, the source said, but the operation never recovered from the explosion. According to the unnamed source in the Reuters' article, the company was making 25 percent more biogas than the plant needed. E3 billed the plant as environmentally friendly because it provided its own fuel from cow manure. It made ethanol from corn and fed the waste to 28,000 cows on site. Then it made biogas from the manure, of which it had large supplies, oblivating the need for outside natural gas or coal to fire the plant. The company plans to reopen the plant after acquiring additional capital to correct mechanical problems created by the boiler explosion.

Source: Timothy Gardner, "Nebraska Ethanol Plant Run on Cow Power Shuts," Reuters, December 5, 2007.

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Funding Opportunities

Developing Countries, Deadline: February 22, 2008

EPA has issued a request for proposals to support the Methane to Markets Partnership by funding projects and activities outside the United States that advance methane recovery and use as a clean energy source. The total estimated amount for this competitive funding opportunity is up to $7 million. EPA expects to award up to 40 cooperative agreements through this announcement, ranging in value from approximately $100,000 to $700,000.

Organizations including foreign governments, not-for-profit organizations, states, local governments, and universities are eligible for funding under the program. The estimated project period for awards is September 2008 through September 2011. See the EPA Methane to Markets Grants Web page for additional information on how to apply.

Puget Sound Energy, Deadline: February 29, 2008

Puget Sound Energy has issued a request for proposals for electricity generation. Under the utility's Integrated Resource Plan, by 2013, PSE will need to serve 10 percent of customers' energy needs with renewable resources of which anaerobic digester produced biogas is eligible. In addition to the current proposal solicitation, Puget Sound Energy also has a green power group that looks at smaller-sized renewable power projects (generally 2 MW or less) for potential inclusion in their program. The resource acquisition team will share any small renewable project proposals received through the current request for proposals process with this group.

El Paso Electric, Deadline: March 11, 2008

El Paso Electric has issued a request for proposal to solicit competitive proposals for diverse renewable energy resource that meet the requirements of the New Mexico Renewable Energy Act and New Mexico Public Regulation Commission's renewable portfolio standard requirements. The Act requires that the utility provide a percentage of its New Mexico retail energy sales from renewable energy resources, as represented by renewable energy certificates. The utility will consider proposals from entities responding to this proposal solicitation for renewable energy credits from supply-side renewable energy resources, with or without physical delivery of the associated energy.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Deadline: April 7, 2008

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has released a request for offers of renewable energy for power purchase agreements. SMUD has a goal to meet 23 percent of its retail electricity sales with renewable energy by 2011 and beyond. The utility's need for renewable energy, including electricity from anaerobic digestion, continues to increase due to its commitment to expand the amount of power from renewable sources in its power mix and a need to replace current contracts that expire in the coming years.

NYSERDA PON 1146, Deadline: May 30, 2009

To expand the supply of clean energy, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has issued Program Opportunity Notice (PON) 1146 to offer $11 million in incentives for electricity generation using anaerobic digestion gas produced from manure, food wastes, municipal wastewater treatment residuals, and other biomass feedstocks. Incentives will be offered based on electrical generation capacity and the kilowatt-hours actually generated each year for three years. The program is part of the new Customer-Sited Tier (CST) of the state's RPS. Details regarding PON 1146, including eligibility and application requirements, are posted on NYSERDA's funding opportunities Web page.

The Climate Trust, Deadline: Applications Accepted on a Rolling Basis

The Climate Trust, a non-profit organization, is recruiting dairy farms and project developers interested in developing anaerobic biodigesters in the Pacific Northwest. In particular, they would like to develop a digester in the Portland, Oregon area. The Climate Trust is funding these projects for Smart Energy, a Northwest Natural Gas Company program, which allows its customers to offset the greenhouse gas emissions of their natural gas use by funding anaerobic digester projects. Northwest Natural has contracted The Climate Trust to administer the acquisition and management of these offsets. Interested dairy farms or project developers should contact Peter Weisberg (pweisberg@climatetrust.org), 503-238-1915 x207 for more information. Additional information regarding Smart Energy and the project solicitation is available on the Climate Trust website.

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Upcoming Events

46th Annual Midwest Rural Energy Conference
February 27-28, 2008
LaCrosse, Wisconsin
This year's Midwest Rural Energy Conference will include two days filled with informative workshops from rural energy professionals. Topics being discussed include recent trends in electric distribution technology, distributed generation, interconnection, and renewable energy portfolio standards.

8th Annual Innovations in Agriculture Conference
March 4, 2008
Syracuse, New York
NYSERDA is organizing this event, which will include discussion of the economic potential of anaerobic digesters on farms and in communities.

4th National 25x'25 Summit
March 11-13, 2008
Omaha, Nebraska
25x'25 is a rallying cry for renewable energy and a goal for America—to get 25 percent of our energy from renewable resources like wind, solar, and biofuels by the year 2025. This year's program will focus on actions state alliances can take to further develop renewable energy industries and to further advance the 25x'25 vision. The 25x'25 Alliance consists of a wide range of voices in the energy debate, ranging from the American Farm Bureau Federation to the National Wildlife Federation to General Motors.

North American Farm and Power Show
March 13-15, 2008
Owatonna, Minnesota
Farmers from Minnesota and surrounding states will gather at the Four Seasons Complex in March to check out the latest farm products on display.

The New American Farm: Advancing the Frontier of Sustainable Agriculture
March 25-27, 2008
Kansas City, Missouri
USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Resource and Education (SARE) conference on sustainable agriculture will cover topics such as energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Agriculture Energy Solutions (PDF) (2 pp, 359K)
March 27, 2008
Cleveland, Wisconsin
Kenn Buelow of Holsum Dairy is speaking on "Real Life Experiences with Digesters" as part of the energy summit.

48th Annual Wisconsin Public Service Farm Show
April 1-3, 2008
Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Wisconsin Public Service will have on-site agricultural consultants to answer energy management questions.

Growing the Margins: Energy, Bioproducts, and Byproducts for Farm and Food Sectors
April 2-5, 2008
London, Ontario
This event will explore the technological, operating, policy, regulatory, and financial challenges and opportunities facing farms and rural industries as they strive to improve their energy efficiency, better utilize byproducts, and ultimately improve their bottom lines.

24th Annual BioCycle West Coast Conference
April 14-16, 2008
San Diego, California
This three-day event includes a focus on renewable energy, including farm anaerobic digestion; regulatory perspectives on permitting digester projects; and case studies of co-digestion projects. The event also features field trips and exhibits.

International Biomass Conference & Trade Show
April 15-17, 2008
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Billed as an event to facilitate the advancement of near-term and commercial-scale manufacturing of biomass-based power, fuels, and chemicals, the conference includes a session on anaerobic digestion.

California BioEnergy
April 16-18, 2008
Napa, California
Organized by the U.S. Department of Energy, Pacific Regional Application Center, U.S. EPA Combined Heat and Power Program, California Energy Commission, and Real Energy, this year's event plans to convene bioenergy, agricultural, waste, and private equity professionals to discuss collaborative designs, policies, and technologies to harvest biogas.

Mitigating Air Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations
May 19-21, 2008
Des Moines, Iowa
The Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in conjunction with University Extension is hosting this national conference. The event is intended to provide practical information related to mitigation of air emissions to technical service providers, extension personnel, industry consultants, and facility owners and operators.

World Pork Expo
June 5-7, 2008
Des Moines, Iowa
The National Pork Producers Council's 2008 World Pork Expo marks the event's 20th anniversary of serving as the world's largest tradeshow for the pork industry.

American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International Meeting
June 29-July 2, 2008
Providence, Rhode Island
Last year this event was a great way for engineers to educate themselves with 160 specialized technical session presentations and six divisional poster sessions, which provide information on cutting edge technologies as well as the latest research.

World's Poultry Congress
June 30-July 4, 2008
Brisbane, Australia
The event is for poultry and allied industries to hear scientific and technical sessions that are topical and relevant to the needs of the poultry industries in 2008. Speakers with expertise in identified areas of interest and importance to industry, science, and technology have been invited to share their knowledge with delegates in both plenary and symposia sessions.

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Methane to Markets Update

AgSTAR is involved in several anaerobic digester demonstration projects under the auspices of the international Methane to Markets Partnership, an initiative to promote the capture of methane gas for use as a clean energy source. Currently, twenty countries actively participate in the Partnership. In this issue, AgSTAR highlights projects in two Partner countries, Mexico and China.

China

According to an official from the Asian Development Bank, China's livestock manure related emissions will increase by 43 percent in the next two decades. Small-scale, ambient temperature digesters have been used in developing countries such as China for household energy generation. To explore energy benefits of digesters on a larger scale, AgSTAR and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture are in the early stages of planning pilot projects for anaerobic digesters with biogas recovery in two rural provinces in China. The pilot projects will demonstrate affordable anaerobic digestion technologies that can be constructed from indigenous resources and broadly replicated across the region. For example, manure from swine operations in China is often used to provide nutrients for commercial fish ponds. The project will characterize existing manure management operations and determine how anaerobic digestion can be effectively integrated into these existing systems. An important facet of the demonstration projects will be training of farmers, policy makers, provincial and national energy offices, and related service organizations. A monitoring protocol will be developed to characterize the environmental and energy benefits of the biodigester operation.

Mexico

EPA, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), and the Mexican Agriculture Ministry (SAGARPA) are working together to develop a country profile of the swine and dairy farm industry in order to estimate the country's anaerobic digester potential. In 2004, Mexico was the second largest swine producer in Latin America, with more than 18 million pigs. AgSTAR's FarmWare software has been adapted to the Mexican environment in order to analyze biodigester sizing and performance. Demonstration projects on small- and medium-sized (less than 500 animals) swine farms have been implemented in the Lerma-Chapala watershed. EPA and SEMARNAT are planning several more pilot projects. These additional projects will create a critical mass of projects that will provide visibility and case studies representing a variety of farms that can be used to promote the benefits of the technology.

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Green Power Programs

In December 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy released its 10th edition of Green Power Marketing in the United States: A Status Report. This report documents green power marketing activities and trends in the United States, focusing on consumer decisions to purchase electricity supplied from renewable energy sources and how this choice represents a powerful market support mechanism for renewable energy development. The report presents aggregate green power sales data for all voluntary purchase markets across the United States. It also provides summary data on utility green pricing programs offered in regulated electricity markets, on green power marketing activity in competitive electricity markets, and green power sold to voluntary purchasers in the form of renewable energy certificates.

FirstEnergy announced that customers of its Ohio utility companies—Ohio Edison, The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, and Toledo Edison—can now support the development of alternative energy sources through the company's new Green Resource Program. Under the program, customers may purchase renewable energy in 100-kWh monthly increments for $0.50, or a premium of 0.5¢/kWh over standard electricity rates. Participating customers must purchase a minimum of 200-kWh each month. To supply the program, FirstEnergy is procuring renewable energy certificates derived from renewable and alternative energy sources such as: biogas digesters, landfill gas, wind, and other renewable resources.

For a list of other utilities offering green power programs, visit the U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy, The Green Power Network, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, December 2007.

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Research and Development

Anaerobic Digest By-Products Add Value

The USDA Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wisconsin, has been researching possible uses for digester by-products. At the World Dairy Expo in October, GHD Inc. introduced a prototype from this effort—a bench built from engineered biocomposite board. The board was made of 50 percent bovine-digested solids and 50 percent recycled paper fiber. The product is now the subject of an economic analysis at the FPL. "The composite market is so huge and the demand so great, there is a big need," said Jerrold Winandy, the project leader for Engineered Composites Science at the FPL.

The work is funded by an agricultural development and diversification grant from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. The research requires a supply of well-digested manure solids. FPL asked Steve Dvorak of GHD, Inc., for support, advice, and the raw material, which was supplied by from Holsum Dairy in Hilbert, Wisconsin.

Source: John Oncken, "John Oncken: Forest Products Lab Works to Add Value to Farming," The Capital Times, October 11, 2007.

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