Jump to main content or area navigation.

Online AgSTAR Digest: Spring 2009

AgSTAR has not independently verified all information presented in the Digest. For further information on any particular item, please contact the source referenced.
Many of the sites listed on this page are not on the EPA website. Please see our disclaimer information.Exiting EPA
You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

Did You Know?

The number of operational livestock manure anaerobic digester systems has grown to 125 systems across the United States.

Another Successful AgSTAR Conference

The 2009 AgSTAR National Conference was held on February 24-25, 2009, in Baltimore, Maryland. More than 300 people from the private and public sectors, including 42 exhibitors, attended the event. AgSTAR thanks the speakers, exhibiters, and attendees for contributing to such a successful conference. In particular, AgSTAR would like to thank Firestone Specialty Products, Martin Machinery, and EC Oregon for sponsoring the event.

Firestone logo Martin Machinery logo ECO logo


Chris Voell, AgSTAR, (far  left) led the panel discussion on policy challenges for anaerobic digester  projects. Experts include (left to right): Scott Subler, Environmental Credit  Corp.; Dan Scruton, Vermont Department of Agriculture; Norma McDonald, Phase 3  Renewables; Steve Dvorak, GHD, Inc.; Danny Kluthe, Olean Energy; Dennis  Haubenschild, Haubenschild Farm, Inc.; and Marcus Martin, Martin Machinery/Gen-Tec  LLC.

Chris Voell, AgSTAR, (far left) led the panel discussion on policy challenges for anaerobic digester projects. Experts include (left to right): Scott Subler, Environmental Credit Corp.; Dan Scruton, Vermont Department of Agriculture; Norma McDonald, Phase 3 Renewables; Steve Dvorak, GHD, Inc.; Danny Kluthe, Olean Energy; Dennis Haubenschild, Haubenschild Farm, Inc.; and Marcus Martin, Martin Machinery/Gen-Tec LLC.

During session breaks, attendees gathered in the exhibit hall, where over 40 booths were displayed.

During session breaks, attendees gathered in the exhibit hall, where over 40 booths were displayed.

The conference sessions began with an opening address from Dina Kruger, EPA’s Climate Change Division Director, during which she provided an overview of the developments in EPA’s climate change policy. Keynote speaker Earl M. Jones III, of Dean Foods Company, followed with an enthusiastic talk about why agriculture should address climate change.

Several conference sessions featured value-added opportunities for digester systems. Dan Nemke of Clear Horizons, LLC, for example, spoke about the advantages of producing potting mix as a source of revenue for dairy operations. Digested solids retain some of the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium originally present in the manure, and they can be used in place of peat moss in the production of organic potting mixes. Energro™ Organic Potting Mix has been a key factor in the economics of the biogas plant at Crave Brothers Dairy in Wisconsin. Another innovative digester biogas project is at Hilarides Dairy in California. Norma McDonald of Phase 3 Renewables explained how the biogas is compressed and used to fuel two large milk delivery trucks as well as some of their pick-up trucks.

Corporate leadership in project development was also a popular theme. Cargill, Inc., for instance, has installed a digester system at Bettencourt’s Dry Creek Dairy, near Jerome, Idaho. The agricultural conglomerate partnered with GE Energy to develop the project, and power produced by the 2.3 megawatt system will be sold to Idaho Power Company once fully operational. Also in Idaho is Dean Foods’ first digester project–a modified plug flow digester at Big Sky Dairy, a 4,700-cow facility near Gooding. By reducing emissions of methane, the digester will generate carbon credits. The final stages of construction were recently completed for both Idaho projects, and they are currently in the start-up phases of operation.

Two expert panel discussions were also conducted during the event; the first concerned regulatory policy and other challenges to anaerobic digestion of livestock manures, and the second involved carbon credits. Other notable sessions included topics on digester project economics, advantages of co-digestion, systems specifically designed for the swine and poultry sectors, and upgrading digester gas to pipeline quality. The presentations are posted on AgSTAR’s Conference website.

Thank you to this year’s exhibitors!

ALLU Group
American Carbon Registry
Biogas Energy, Inc.
BioPower Technologies, Inc.
Biothane, LLC
Bose Research and Development, Inc.
Camco Global
CH-Four Biogas, Inc.
Clear Carbon Consulting
DODA USA, Inc.
Ecoex
EMG International, Inc.
Energy Cube, LLC
Environmental Credit Corp.
Environmental Fabrics, Inc.
Firestone Specialty Products
First Capitol Risk Management
GHD, Inc.
The GIC Group
Greenhouse Gas Services, LLC
Guild Associates, Inc.
INGENCO
Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy
ITT Water and Waste Water USA
Kemira Water
Kraft Power Corp.
Landtec N.A.
Martin Machinery
NativeEnergy
Northeast Energy Systems
Phase 3 Renewables
QuestAir Technologies, Inc.
RCM International, LLC
RealEnergy, LLC
Red Barn Consulting
Reynolds, Inc. / Entec Biogas USA
Sage Metering, Inc.
Schmack BioEnergy, LLC
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
    Rural Development
Vaughan Company, Inc.
Vilter Manufacturing

Top of page

New Digester Costs Analysis

The costs of anaerobic digester systems for dairy cow manure vary with system type and size, and other site-specific conditions. While as-built costs generally are not available, AgSTAR recently completed an analysis of 28 itemized vendor cost quotes in order to provide preliminary guidance on estimating capital costs, as shown in the graphic. More details about the methodology and other analysis results are available in AgSTAR’s fact sheet entitled Anaerobic Digestion Capital Costs for Dairy Farms, which has been posted on the AgSTAR website.

Analysis of Capital Costs (2008$) for Anaerobic Digester Systems at Dairy Farms

Analysis of Capital Costs for Anaerobic Digester  System at Dairy Farms

Costs exclude the cost of post-digestion solids separation, hydrogen sulfide removal, and utility interconnect charges.

Top of page

Continued Growth in Digester Projects

At the national conference, AgSTAR announced the latest data available regarding the number of operational U.S. livestock manure anaerobic digester systems, which now total 125 systems. An additional 26 systems are under construction and another 70 anaerobic digester projects are planned. In 113 of the operational systems, the captured biogas is used to generate electrical power, with many of the farms recovering waste heat for the electricity-generating equipment for on-farm use. These systems generate about 244,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity per year. The remaining 12 systems use the gas in boilers, upgrade the gas for injection into a natural gas pipeline, or simply flare the captured gas for odor control. Most digester systems (78 percent) operate at dairy farms and are largely concentrated in the Midwest, West, and Northeast.

Operating Manure Anaerobic Digester Systems (February 2009)

Operating Manure Anaerobic Digester Systems (February 2009)

The majority of commercially operating digesters (78 percent) are plug flow and complete mix systems operating at mesophilic temperatures (95ºF - 105ºF). The next most popular system is covered lagoons, operating at ambient temperature. More specific details about the systems are posted in AgSTAR’s Anaerobic Digester Database.

Although the majority of systems are still farm-owned and operated with only livestock manure as the feedstock, other approaches are emerging. These include the codigestion of high strength organic wastes (e.g., food processing wastes) to increase gas production per unit volume of reactor; third-party owned/operated systems; centralized systems handling manure from multiple farms; and direct gas sales to customers or gas utilities.

Top of page

Nebraska Workshop Encourages Methane Recovery

More than 120 people attended the Methane Recovery from Livestock Operations Workshop: The Economic and Environmental Benefits of Anaerobic Digestion held on February 19, 2009, in York, Nebraska. AgSTAR, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ), Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), and USDA Rural Development co-sponsored the workshop. Speakers discussed how climate change concerns and interest in renewable energy has energized folks into exploring opportunities for methane recovery in anaerobic digesters with energy production.

Danny Kluthe of Olean Energy provided a livestock producer’s perspective of operating an anaerobic digestion system at his 8,000-head hog operation. Project developers Norma McDonald of Phase 3 Renewables and Mark Moser with RCM Digesters identified the factors that help determine if these systems would be a good investment. Steve McCombs from Chicago Climate Exchange discussed potential revenue streams for anaerobic digester systems through the sale of carbon credits. Other topics included:

As part of the workshop, a facilitated discussion was held at the end of the event. A summary issues document from this discussion and the workshop presentations are posted on the AgSTAR website.

To learn more about the Nebraska Methane Working Group, which is promoting the development of anaerobic digestion in the state, contact Peggy Berlowitz (peggy.berlowitz@nebraska.gov), NDEQ, at 402-471-6974.

Top of page

EPA Proposes First National Reporting on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

EPA developed the two fact sheets below to provide information specifically for the agriculture and livestock sectors to help determine which operations are covered and which are not.

Guide for the Agriculture and Livestock Sectors (PDF) (2 pp, 48K)

Manure Management Systems (PDF) (2 pp, 48K)

On March 10, 2009, U.S. EPA proposed the first comprehensive national system for reporting emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced by major sources in the United States. The proposed rule (40 CFR 98) would apply to suppliers of fossil fuel and industrial chemicals, manufacturers of motor vehicles and engines, as well as large direct emitters of GHGs with emissions equal to or greater than a threshold of 25,000 metric tons per year. This threshold is roughly equivalent to the annual GHG emissions from just over 4,500 passenger vehicles. The vast majority of small businesses would not be required to report their emissions because their emissions fall well below the threshold. Approximately 13,000 facilities, accounting for about 85 percent to 90 percent of GHGs emitted in the United States, would be covered under the proposal. EPA estimates that less than 50 livestock operations would be required to report emissions under the manure management section of the proposed rule.

For more information on how the proposed rulemaking affects the livestock industry, please visit EPA’s website. The following information is available on the website:

The proposed rule (PDF) (126 pp, 1.6MB) was published in the Federal Register on April 10, 2009. The public comment period closes on June 9, 2009. Instructions for providing comments are available on EPA’s website.

Top of page

Economic Stimulus

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), enacted in February 2009, contains significant financial incentives for state and local governments to implement “green” projects. Experts estimate that the Act directs $71 billion to the development of clean energy. A few of the key clean energy ARRA provisions that may help support anaerobic digester projects include:

AgSTAR has identified a number of resources that may assist developers and other interested stakeholders in learning more about these potential financial incentives. They include:

Reports and Analyses

Congressional Research Service, Energy Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, March 3, 2009.
EPA State and Local Branch, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: State and Local Guide to U.S. EPA Climate Energy Program Resources (PDF) (29 pp, 834K), March 12, 2009.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, PTC, ITC, or Cash Grant? An Analysis of the Choice Facing Renewable Power Projects in the United States (PDF) (21 pp, 476K), March 2009.

Webcasts and Presentations

EPA State and Local Branch, Using EPA Resources to Maximize Clean Energy in Economic Recovery Spending Webcast, March 5, 2009.
Doug Lamb, Hunton & Williams, Economic Stabilization Act - Energy Tax Credit Bond Provisions (PDF) (32 pp, 432K), LMOP Conference, January 2009.

Web Sites

EPA Recovery
DOE State Energy Program
DOE Listing of State Energy Offices

Top of page

Methane to Markets

The Methane to Markets Partnership conducted a Partnership-wide meeting in Monterrey, Mexico, on January 27-29, 2009, hosted by Mexico’s Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). This event included:

Photo of the Ana Margarita covered lagoon.

Attendees visited the covered lagoon anaerobic digester at the Ana Margarita swine farm in Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

Partner Countries in attendance included Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Philippines, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam. The Subcommittee meeting and workshop proceedings are available on the Methane to Markets website.

The Subcommittee meeting included a discussion of the development of a protocol to provide general international guidance to characterize the environmental performance of anaerobic digestion. EPA has drafted a protocol and is currently organizing a panel of international experts to provide input on the draft document. The protocol is expected to be completed by June 2009. Another topic the Subcommittee discussed was the possible expansion of the Partnership’s scope to include other sources of methane emissions from agriculture, such as enteric fermentation and rice cultivation.

The Second Methane to Markets Partnership Expo Announced!

On March 2-5, 2010, join the world’s largest forum for methane projects, technology, financing, and policy in New Delhi, India.

The Expo provides participants with opportunities to:

  • Showcase methane mitigation projects and technologies
  • Meet with potential project partners and financiers
  • Learn about the latest project opportunities, technologies, and services
  • Explore key technical, financial, and policy issues
  • Interact with high-level government agencies from 28 countries

This year Methane to Markets is soliciting abstracts from Project Network members and delegates to be presented at the Expo. Specific details about topics and submission deadlines will be forthcoming.

For more information on the Methane to Markets Partnership Expo, please the Expo website.

Top of page

New Operational/Final Construction Stage Projects

Norm-E-Lane Dairy (Wisconsin)

The end of 2008 marked the startup of an anaerobic digester at Norm-E-Lane Dairy in Chili, Wisconsin. The 2,000-cow farm plans to generate up to 500 kilowatts using biogas to fuel an engine generator set. The estimated cost of the project is around $1.8 million, with $439,150 in funding provided by a Section 9006 grant from USDA Rural Development under the 2002 Farm Bill. The mixed plug flow digester was designed by GHD, Inc. The Meissner family, who owns the farm, signed an agreement with Dairyland Power Cooperative, which will purchase the renewable electricity generated by the project for distribution on the grid.

Sources: Dairyland Power Cooperative, "Dairyland Power Expands Renewable Energy Resources (PDF) (1 pg, 50.3K)," Dairyland Power Cooperative News Release, December 8, 2008; and USDA Rural Development, “$4 Million in Federal Funding Comes Home To Wisconsin!”, USDA Rural Development Wisconsin Newsroom, September 21, 2007.

Statz Brothers Dairy (Wisconsin)

In January 2009, Statz Brothers Dairy in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, began producing biogas from the manure of 1,250 of their milking cows. Their new anaerobic digester, designed by GHD, Inc. is a mixed plug flow design with a volume of about 142,800 square feet (over 1 million gallons). Biogas accumulates under an insulated cover and is transferred to an engine generator set to produce electricity for distribution over the Alliant Energy system. USDA Rural Development, under the 2002 Farm Bill, provided a $467,456 Section 9006 grant for the system, which had an estimated capital cost of about $1.9 million.

Sources: John Oncken, The Capital Times, February 5, 2009; and USDA Rural Development, “$4 Million in Federal Funding Comes Home To Wisconsin!,” USDA Rural Development Wisconsin Newsroom, September 21, 2007.

Qualco Energy Group (Washington)

The Sno/Sky Agricultural Alliance, the Tulalip Tribes, and Northwest Chinook Recovery have formed a non-profit partnership called Qualco Energy. The group recently began capturing biogas in their new anaerobic digester, located on a former dairy farm that had been operated by the state prison in Monroe, Washington. The digester system, designed by GHD, Inc. and built by Andgar Corp., accepts manure from three nearby dairies, as well as cheese and egg processing wastes from neighboring facilities, to generate the biogas. The gas is then fed to an engine generator set to produce up to 450 kilowatts of electricity. Puget Sound Energy began purchasing the electricity in March 2009. The power sales will earn an estimated $300,000 annually for Qualco Energy. Other benefits to the system are the solid and liquid byproducts, used as compost and liquid fertilizer. Under Farm Bill Section 9006, USDA Rural Development awarded the group $499,380 to assist in the development of the project.

Sources: Rami Grunbaum, “Manure Provides Green Power in Monroe,” The Seattle Times, March 15, 2009; Debra Smith, “From Cow Poop to Power: County's First Biogas Plant is Making Electricity,” The Herald, February 18, 2009; and Lisa Stiffler, “Ranchers Turn Cow Manure Into Kilowatt-hours,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 16, 2007.

Top of page

Announced Projects

Xcel Energy/Microgy (Colorado)

Microgy Inc., owner and operator of several biogas-to-energy production facilities, has announced plans for a new plant in Weld County, Colorado, near Platteville. Pending approval from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, the developer has a 10-year agreement with Xcel Energy to supply biogas to be used to produce electricity at the Fort St. Vrain Generating Station. Biogas will be produced by the anaerobic digestion of manure from local dairy and food processing waste from Colorado’s Front Range area. The project is expected to generate as much as 125,000 MWhs annually and will help Xcel Energy continue to meet Colorado’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2010.

Source: Environmental Power Corporation, “Environmental Power and Xcel Energy Announce Renewable Natural Gas Agreement,” March 3, 2009.

AGreen Energy (Massachusetts)

By implementing small-scale anaerobic digesters on each of their dairies, six farmers in Massachusetts plan to generate renewable electricity to be sold to the grid. The farmers have united to form AGreen Energy Group and are collaborating with utilities, government agencies, financial institutions, and local universities to develop this project. The individual farm projects are on farms with less than 500 cows, with their manure supplemented with food wastes from Massachusetts’s compost program for food processors and restaurants. This additional waste is expected to significantly increase the rate of biogas production from the digesters. In addition to emission reductions, renewable energy production, and odor reduction, these projects will provide cost savings on farmers’ bedding and electric bills. Prior to the formation of AGreen Energy, two members of the group received awards from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust to begin the design and construction phase of their digester systems.

Not only will the AGreen Energy model benefit Massachusetts, but it’s also being modeled elsewhere in the United States. AGreen Energy LLC is currently working with the Florida Farm Bureau, which received a Value-Added Producers Grant from the USDA, to develop a feasible business plan for energy generation on dairy farms. The University of Florida is the main collaborator on the project which involves 22 other organizations and agencies.

Sources: Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, Inc., “Massachusetts Dairy Farmers Join Forces to Reduce Environmental Footprint, Generate Green Power,” Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Newsroom, January 16, 2009, and Bryan Sims, “Massachusetts Dairy Farmers Form AGreen Energy,” Biomass Magazine, January 22, 2009.

Top of page

Grants Awarded

Colorado

The Colorado Department of Agriculture awarded $250,000 under Advancing Colorado’s Renewable Energy (ACRE) grant program for biomass-related projects. Stewart Environmental Consultants Inc. received a $50,000 research grant to catalog and quantify the feedstocks available in northeastern Colorado for anaerobic digestion and biogas production. Their current focus is to determine the amount of organic materials in the region and identify confined dairy feeding and milking operations that can produce enough manure for an economically feasible collective ownership of an anaerobic digester system. Their research suggests that there are six locations within Weld and Morgan counties that meet the minimum requirement of 5,000 head within a two-mile radius to construct a regional digester.

Sources: Ryan Christiansen, “Colorado ACRE Awards Grants to Biomass Projects,” Biomass Magazine, January 8, 2009, and Steve Porter, “Cow Pie Energy Studied by Fort Collins Firm,” Northern Colorado Business Report, February 13, 2009.

Iowa

On December 23, 2008, the administrator of the Iowa Power Fund announced grant awards totaling $5.87 million for six renewable energy projects. Amana Farms, Inc. was one of the six recipients receiving a $1.08 million grant to fund an anaerobic digester system. Approximately $918,000 will be used to scale-up the digester and the remaining $165,000 will go toward educational aspects. The farm plans to generate electricity from biogas using 20 percent cattle manure and 80 percent organic industrial waste as feedstocks for the digester. In 2006, Amana Farms received a USDA Section 9006 grant for $500,000 and $1 million loan guarantee to install the current digester system.

Source: The State of Iowa Office of Energy, “Iowa Plans for Growing Energy Economy,” February 2009.

The Iowa Power Fund and Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority Grant are accepting applications. More details provided in Funding Opportunities.

Pennsylvania

In January 2009, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell announced that the state will fund 49 clean energy and biofuel projects through two state programs. The grants include $7.2 million through the Energy Harvest Grant program and $6.5 million through the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant program. Two anaerobic digester projects received funding. Southern Alleghenies Conservancy Inc. (Blair County) will receive $480,479 on behalf of Pleasant View Farms for an anaerobic digester and electrical generation systems. The system is expected to replace all of the farm’s current annual electricity consumption and generate more than $86,000 per year from the sale of excess electricity. The Indiana County Conservation District will receive $46,950 to increase the generation capacity of the Brookside Dairy anaerobic digester from 80 kilowatts to 107 kilowatts. The existing engine will be turbocharged to increase generation capacity by 30 percent and utilize the excess biogas.

Sources: Erin Voegele, “Pennsylvania to Fund Five Biomass Projects,” Biomass Magazine, February 4, 2009, and PRNewswire, “Investments in Clean Energy, Biofuels Boost Energy Independence, Open Markets for Emerging Technologies,” January 29, 2009.

Michigan

Michigan State University (MSU) will utilize $3 million in state and foundation grants to develop technology for farms to turn animal waste into usable heat, electricity, and other valuable products. A two-year $1.5 million research grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission and a three-year $1.5 million grant from a private southeastern Michigan foundation will be used to construct an Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center. The Education Center will consolidate new and existing programs in a planned 3,280-square-foot building at MSU’s farm animal and environmental research complex. Researchers aim to develop and commercialize turn-key digester and microturbine modules to generate electricity for the center while addressing issues relating to food contamination, odor, GHG emissions, and runoff at small and mid-sized farms. MSU plans to test related equipment and processes, so the center can generate its own electricity. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2009.

Sources: Anna Austin, “Anaerobic Digestion Activities Abound,” Biomass Magazine, January, 2009, and MSU, “MSU Leverages Public, Private Funds for Farm Waste-to-Energy Project,” October 15, 2008.

Top of page

Funding Opportunities

Blue Sky Community-Based Renewable Energy Projects, Deadline: May 15, 2009

Through the Blue Sky program, Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power are offering funding for eligible renewable energy technologies, such as anaerobic digesters that generate electricity, to advance small and medium sized community-based projects. These projects must be located in either Rocky Mountain Power (parts of Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho) or Pacific Power (parts of Oregon, Washington, and California) service areas. Projects can be funded up to 100 percent of the total project costs, but need to be locally owned, have a capacity of less than 10 MW, be interconnected to the utility grid, and expect to be operational within two years of the receipt of funding. For-profit-businesses are eligible for the grant, but only if they are a Blue Sky participant (i.e., purchases a certain level of renewable power from the utility).

U.S. DOE Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, Direct Formula Grants, State Deadline: May 26, 2009; Local Government Deadline: June 25, 2009

On March 26, 2009, the DOE released guidance and allocation amounts for entities eligible for direct formula Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) grants, which received a significant amount of funding under the ARRA. The list of eligible entities is available on the DOE website. This money can be used to fund projects that reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions, including the purchase and implementation of technologies to reduce, capture, and use methane. Each state that receives a grant under the program is required to redistribute at least 60 percent of the amount received to provide subgrants to units of local government that are not eligible for direct formula grants. Therefore, states will control what types of renewable energy projects will be eligible for funding and the type of mechanism they will use to distribute the money. Contact your State Energy Office to request information on your state’s plan for awarding subgrants under the EECBG program.

To obtain a copy of the DOE funding opportunity announcement, which contains complete information for grantees on the program and application process, go to FedConnect and search for Reference Number DE-FOA-0000013. For general questions regarding the EECBG Program, please contact the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE) Information Center via its Web submission form or call 1-877-EERE-INFO

In addition to the direct formula grants discussed in the March 26, 2009, announcement, DOE will issue a future request for proposals related to the competitive grant part of the program. All cities and counties will be eligible to apply for these grants regardless of population.

Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority, Deadline: May 29, 2009

The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) is offering grant funding for clean, alternative energy projects, including those that involve biologically derived methane gas, such as LFG. All proposed projects must include a research component. Preference will be given to projects that have matching funds, can demonstrate revitalization or redevelopment of brownfields, or the expansion of businesses and job growth. Additionally, since the money comes in part from the ARRA, projects must begin within 120 days of the grant agreement and be completed within 18 months. PEDA can also provide funding for businesses interested in locating or expanding their alternative energy manufacturing or production operations in the Commonwealth. PEDA will consider grant applications for amounts up to $1.5 million. Funding for projects may be used for capital equipment, construction associated with capital projects, and land acquisition. A total of $21 million is available under this solicitation.

Wisconsin Focus on Energy Grant, Deadline: May 29, 2009

Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin entities to install cost-effective renewable energy projects. They recently released a request for grant proposals for renewable energy projects, including anaerobic digesters, which produce electricity, thermal energy, or biogas/methane. The grant is intended for those systems that generally cost more than $2 million but less than $5 million. The individual grants are capped at $500,000 and cannot exceed 25 percent of the cost of the renewable energy system. Businesses, organizations, institutions, and federal, state, county, local or tribal governments and residents are eligible if they purchase energy from a utility participating with Focus on Energy.

NYSERDA PON 1146, Deadline: May 30, 2009

To expand the supply of clean energy, the 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 biogas 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 Customer-Sited Tier of the state’s renewable portfolio standard. Details regarding PON 1146, including eligibility and application requirements, are posted on NYSERDA's funding opportunities Web page.

Arizona Public Service Company, Deadline: June 4, 2009

Arizona Public Service Company (APS) is seeking competitive proposals for renewable energy totaling 45,000 MWh annually from small generation resources to meet the requirements of APS' Small Generation Pilot Program. Eligible renewable technologies include LFG energy. APS is not seeking distributed energy resources in this solicitation. The minimum project size is 1,500 MWh per year and the commercial operation date must be no later than December 31, 2011. A non-refundable submission fee of $2,000 per respondent is required in order to qualify proposal(s) for consideration.

REAP Feasibility Grants, Deadline: June 9, 2009

USDA is accepting funding applications from eligible entities for grants to conduct energy audits and provide renewable energy development assistance under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill, this is the first time USDA has made grant funding available to states, tribal and local governments, land grant colleges or universities, electric cooperatives, and public power entities to provide recommendations on renewable energy development, including anaerobic digesters.

An estimated $2.4 million will be available nationwide. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis and can be up to $100,000 per applicant. To apply, contact your USDA Rural Development State Office. Further details about eligibility rules and application procedures are available in the March 11, 2009 Federal Register.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Next Deadline: June 25, 2009

To help reach its Renewable Portfolio Standard goal, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is seeking proposals to acquire approximately 1,000 gigawatt-hours per year of energy and dependable capacity from eligible renewable resources. LADWP prefers proposals that offer immediate facility ownership, or Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) that offer an early facility ownership option. LADWP will also consider ownership of undeveloped sites, in which the sites could be fully permitted and the resource fully assessed before this RFP expires, as well as traditional PPAs in which the owner of the renewable facility will sell the energy output to LADWP.

LADWP will consider proposals from new and existing renewable energy projects. The minimum project size for some of the categories, including anaerobic digesters, is 1 MW. LADWP will consider projects located within the Western Electricity Coordinating Council area that are able to deliver energy to an approved delivery point on the LADWP system. Proposals will be accepted by LADWP on a rolling basis at any time until March 11, 2010. The request for proposals and associated documents can be downloaded from the LADWP website.

Iowa Power Fund, Deadline: Various Pre-Application Deadlines through February 1, 2010

The Iowa Legislature appropriated $25 million to the Iowa Power Fund for fiscal years 2009 through 2011. The Power Fund was created to further the goals of increasing the research, development, production, and use of biofuels and other sources of renewable energy to improve energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions. Applicants may be businesses, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, state and local governments, and other organizations. Details regarding the Iowa Power Fund, including eligibility and application requirements, can be found on the Iowa Office of Energy Independence Web Site.

The Climate Trust, Ongoing

The Climate Trust is interested in purchasing the carbon credits from anaerobic digesters from dairy farms in the Pacific Northwest. The Climate Trust is purchasing GHG offsets on behalf of Northwest Natural Gas Company’s Smart Energy program, which allows customers to offset the GHG emissions associated with their natural gas use. Interested dairy farms or project developers should contact Peter Weisberg (pweisberg@climatetrust.org), 503-238-1915 x 207, for more information. More information on Smart Energy and the project solicitation is available on the Climate Trust website.

Colorado AD Feasibility Grant, Ongoing

The Colorado Governor’s Energy Office will partner with facilities or farm owners and anaerobic digester experts in sharing the costs of an anaerobic digester feasibility study. The study consists of a site visit from a technical consultant to assess project potential. The consultant reviews the site layout, number of animals involved in the project, manure management systems, and local energy infrastructure. After the site visit is completed, the consultant reviews the energy costs of the farm, local regulations, economic costs of the project, as well as identify potential barriers, and presents an expert opinion regarding the feasibility of the project. If you are interested in partnering with the Energy Office, submit a program interest form.

Colorado Carbon Fund, Ongoing

The Colorado Carbon Fund provides high-quality carbon offsets for sale to individuals, businesses, and government agencies interested in mitigating their carbon footprint. The organization is currently recruiting innovative GHG offset projects, of which methane capture with energy recovery is eligible. The Climate Trust, in partnership with the Governor’s Energy Office, is responsible for evaluating and contracting to buy the emission reductions from projects in Colorado. More details regarding the requirements of the offset generation are provided on the Colorado Carbon Fund website.

Top of page

Upcoming Events

Commercial Use of Non-Traditional Methane Resources
May 26-27, 2009
Moscow, Russia
In conjunction with the 6th International Exhibition Trade Fair "WasteTech-2009," a conference has been developed to discuss reduction strategies, utilization, and experiences of projects that use methane from agriculture, landfills, coal beds, and oil and gas systems for energy production. AgSTAR will be supporting the international Methane to Markets Partnership at the event.

World Pork Expo
June 3-5, 2009
Des Moines, Iowa
Boasting an attendance of almost 18,000 last year, the National Pork Producers Council bill this event as a must for the professional pork producer. The event allows producers the chance to learn about the science, products, and partnerships that will improve farm economics and have a positive impact on the industry. AgSTAR is one of the sponsors of this year’s Expo, and will be presenting a seminar on anaerobic digestion. If you wish to meet with AgSTAR during this event, please contact Chris Voell (voell.christopher@epa.gov) at 202-343-9406.

2009 National Biomethane Summit
June 23, 3009
Sacramento, California
Hosted by the California Natural Gas Vehicle Partnership, this event includes the latest information, applications, success stories, and technology in the fields of dairy waste methane recovery, landfill gas-powered vehicles, wastewater processing plants, GHG emission reductions, and other sources of renewable natural gas.

Wisconsin Farm Technology Days
July 21-23, 2009
Waterloo, Wisconsin
Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is one of the state's largest outdoor agricultural shows and will be held at Crave Brothers Farm. As part of the farm tours being offered during the event, attendees can learn about the farm’s digestion system.

Methane to Markets Project Expo
March 2-5, 2010
New Delhi, India
Save the Date! Methane to Markets will be soliciting abstracts from Project Network members and delegates to be presented at the next Expo. The 2007 Project Expo’s agricultural breakout sessions included case studies to illustrate countries’ experiences with anaerobic digester development and integration of appropriate technologies into bioenergy systems. Participants also discussed working with international partners to promote project development; measurement, verification, baseline, and accounting issues of emission reductions; and how Methane to Markets can assist in overcoming barriers.

Top of page

Online Resources

New Digester Profiles Posted

Nearly 20 new farm project profiles highlighting successful anaerobic digester projects across the United States have been added to the AgSTAR website. The profiles describe the environmental and economic benefits realized through the incorporation of anaerobic digester systems. The project profiles also include background information and a brief description of daily operations at each farm. Profiles recently added to the AgSTAR website include:

Project Name State Animal Type Population Digester Type
Baldwin Dairy WI Dairy 1,050 milking herd Horizontal plug flow
Blue Spruce Farm VT Dairy 1,200 head Horizontal plug flow
Castelanelli Brothers Dairy CA Dairy 1,500 to 1,600 milking herd Covered lagoon
Colorado Pork CO Swine 6,300 sows Complete mix
Cottonwood Dairy CA Dairy 5,000 head Covered lagoon
Emerald Dairy WI Dairy 1,600 milking herd Mixed plug flow
Emerling Farm NY Dairy 1,200 head Horizontal plug flow
Five Star Dairy WI Dairy 850 milking herd Complete mix
Freund Farm CT Dairy 250 head Horizontal plug flow
Green Valley Dairy WI Dairy 2,500 head Complete mix
New Hope View Farm NY Dairy 850 head Horizontal plug flow
Huckabay Ridge TX Dairy Design capacity of up to 10,000 cows Complete mix
Kluthe Farm NE Swine
(wean-to-finish)
7,500-8,000 head Complete mix
Patterson Farms, Inc. NY Dairy 1,800 head Complete mix
Ridgeline Farm NY Dairy 525 head Complete mix
Scenic View Dairy, LLC MI Dairy 2,200 head Complete mix
Twin Birch Dairy NY Dairy 1,200 head Horizontal plug flow
Vander Haak Dairy WA Dairy 1,100 head Horizontal plug flow
Vir-Clar Farm WI Dairy 1,350 head Complete mix

USDA Rural Cooperatives Magazine

The USDA Rural Development’s Business and Cooperative Program publishes the Rural Cooperatives magazine bimonthly. The November/December 2008 issue featured two articles highlighting the use of anaerobic digestion on farms. One article, entitled “Carbon Credits for Farmers,” explained how methane from anaerobic digestion of dairy cow manure may qualify for carbon credits if collected and prevented from emitting into the atmosphere. Organizations can then buy these credits to reduce their GHG impact. The other article, “Vermont Dairy Farm Turns Manure into Renewable Energy,” discusses the use of anaerobic digestion at Green Mountain Dairy, LLC in Sheldon, Vermont. The farm has 1,050 cows producing about 10 million gallons of manure a year. Two years ago, the farm installed an anaerobic digester that turns the manure into 1.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. Central Vermont Public Service buys this electricity from Green Mountain Dairy and sells it to customers that choose to purchase “green energy.”

Top of page


Jump to main content.