Online AgSTAR Digest: Winter 2011
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Did You Know?
AgSTAR has released version 3.5 of its prefeasibility assessment software FarmWare. The major change was the inclusion of updated capital costs.
- AgSTAR Conference: Register Now
- Market Opportunities Report Released
- Pennsylvania Digester Workshop
- USDA Financial Awards
- Updated Anaerobic Digestion Protocol
- USDA and Dairy Industry Support Digesters
- Newly Operational Digesters
- Digester Facility Adds Food to the Mix
- Digesters Under Construction
- Future Digester Projects
- USDA Survey Results
- States Award Grants to Digesters
- Online Resources
- Global Methane Initiative
- New Anaerobic Digester Program
- Funding Opportunities
- Upcoming Events
AgSTAR Conference: Register Now
Registration is now open for the Sixth AgSTAR National Conference, taking place in Boise, Idaho! The conference will include technical presentations on a variety of topics related to anaerobic digestion, expanded networking events, and an exhibit hall. We are also planning a tour of an anaerobic digester system that will take place on Tuesday, May 10. To register online, visit the AgSTAR Conference Web page.
Although our exhibit space is full, there are still sponsorship opportunities available. This is a perfect opportunity to network with your colleagues, clients, and others interested and involved in anaerobic digestion systems. In addition to onsite recognition during the conference, logos of sponsors who commit early will be included online and in conference materials. More information is now available on the AgSTAR Conference Web page.
Market Opportunities Report Released
In December 2010, AgSTAR released Market Opportunities for Biogas Recovery Systems at U.S. Livestock Facilities. The report describes the potential to provide renewable energy at U.S. dairy and swine operations. Roughly 5,600 swine farms and 2,600 dairy farms were found to have the potential to support anaerobic digester systems, though as of November 2010, only 160 digesters were in operation. Installing digesters at these operations, where feasible, would reduce methane emissions by another 1.8 million tons per year (representing approximately an 87 percent reduction). The report also identifies top states for biogas energy potential and introduces guidelines for identifying farms on which biogas production would be profitable. The figures below depict the number of candidate farms in each state for which a manure-fed digester could be profitable.
Pennsylvania Digester Workshop
AgSTAR and Penn State Cooperative Extension partnered together to offer an anaerobic digester workshop in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on December 2, 2010, with support from the Lancaster County Center of Excellence in Production Agriculture. Over 150 people from 19 states and two Canadian provinces came out to learn about biogas recovery, a hot topic as farmers and communities explore ways to reduce nutrients flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.
Presenters discussed successful digester systems on small to medium operations, as well as important considerations when evaluating the potential for community digesters. Robert Graves from Pennsylvania State University discussed the basics of anaerobic digestion as they relate to energy, odor, and nutrients. Stephanie Lansing, University of Maryland, spoke about her work researching small-scale digester options. Bill Shuffstall, Pennsylvania State University, discussed regional digesters and advanced water treatment, including information on efforts in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, with the Cove Area Regional Digester project.
Various aspects of revenue enhancement strategies were discussed, including selling electricity, nutrient value, carbon credits, as well as innovative on-farm benefits, including heat recovery for pasteurizing milk, animal bedding, compost, and tipping fees from food waste disposal. Allison Costa, AgSTAR; Bernard Linn, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—Rural Development; and Noel Soto, USDA—Natural Resources Conservation Service, shared resources for grants, loans, and other financial incentives. The workshop proceedings are available on the workshop Web page.
Participants had the opportunity to visit one of two farms—Oregon Dairy or Brubaker's Dairy.
- Oregon Dairy, in Lititz, Pennsylvania, originally constructed a modified plug flow digester in 1986. It was designed for cogeneration, producing electricity and heat that is used for both the digester and the farmhouse. After operation for over 20 years, they have recently redesigned their system and have installed a complete mix digester to process the manure from nearly 400 cows. Additionally, they have added a composting operation that processes outside wastes.
- Brubaker's Dairy, in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, has a complete mix system that accepts off-farm wastes in addition to the manure from approximately 900 cows. It also has a cogeneration system, producing electricity and capturing waste heat from the engine-generator set. The farm maximizes the use of waste heat from the digester in a variety of ways, both traditional and innovative. Read more about the Brubaker digester below.
USDA Financial Awards
In consultation with USDA, AgSTAR issued an updated Federal Incentives Fact Sheet that highlights government funding sources most likely to support anaerobic digester projects.
Rural Energy for America Program
In January 2011, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA Rural Development program had selected 68 recipients to receive funding to determine the feasibility of renewable energy projects. The funding is made available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) under the 2008 Farm Bill. REAP loan guarantees and grants can be used for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, feasibility studies, and energy audits. Of the 68 projects that received money, 21 of the projects were anaerobic digester projects (listed in the table below). Visit the Rural Energy for America Program's website (PDF) (3 pp, 101K) for a full list of the projects that received funding.
|State||Applicant||Feasibility Study Project Description||Amount|
|Hawaii||Hawaii Beef Producers, LLC||Anaerobic digester||$10,000|
|Idaho||The New Energy Company, LLC||Anaerobic digester||$5,562|
|Idaho||New Energy Three, LLC||1.2 megawatt anaerobic digesters||$5,562|
|Michigan||Riedstra Dairy, Ltd||Anaerobic digester||$10,000|
|Michigan||River Ridge Dairy Company, Inc.||Anaerobic digester||$10,000|
|Michigan||Beaver Creek Diary, LLC||Anaerobic digester||$10,000|
|Michigan||Siegler Dairy Farm||Anaerobic digester, also studying economics of replacing propane with methane, using carbon dioxide for algae growth||$9,000|
|Nebraska||Daniel W. Kluthe||Use of a scrubber unit to clean gas||$41,000|
|Nebraska||Midwest Veterinary Services||Swine waste to electricity via anaerobic digester||$25,000|
|New York||Cayuga County Public Utility Service||Anaerobic biodigesters on 20 farms to produce electricity and gas||$40,000|
|Ohio||Ringler Energy, LLC||Anaerobic digester||$50,000|
|Ohio||Lumber Yard and Barn Parts Direct, LLC||Anaerobic digester||$10,000|
|Ohio||Four Pines Farms, Ltd||Anaerobic digester||$10,000|
|Ohio||Miedema Diary, LLC||Anaerobic digester||$10,000|
|Ohio||Van Raay Dairy, LLC||Anaerobic digester||$10,000|
|Ohio||M&C, Inc.||Anaerobic digester||$25,000|
|Oregon||Novus Pacific, LLC||High-rate anaerobic digestion system (1 million cubic feet per day)||$50,000|
|Texas||Select Milk Producers, Inc.||Anaerobic digester||$17,500|
|Texas||Nutre, LLC||Solar system to operate an anaerobic digester||$50,000|
|Western Pacific||Oceana Consultancy, LLC||Anaerobic digester||$21,931|
Source: USDA, "Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Investments to Study Renewable Energy Feasibility in Rural Communities," January 20, 2011.
Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels
In January 2011, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also announced new investments being made in 33 states to support the production and usage of advanced biofuels. Funding comes from the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, which is authorized under Section 9005 of the Farm Bill. The program provides payments to eligible producers to expand production of advanced biofuels. The Agency establishes payment rates, which are dependent on the number of producers participating in the program, the amount of advanced biofuels being produced, and the amount of funds available. The following table lists biofuels producers with anaerobic digesters that have received funding:
|Michigan||Geerlings Hillside Farms, LLC||$559.64|
|Michigan||Scenic View Dairy, LLC||$7,207.58|
|Minnesota||West River Dairy, LLP||$3,438.06|
|Ohio||Bridgewater Dairy, LLC||$1,430.58|
|Vermont||Berkshire Cow Power, LLC||$1,486.51|
|Vermont||Green Mountain Dairy, LLC||$647.57|
|Washington||Farm Power—Rexville, LLC||$786.68|
|Wisconsin||Holsum Dairies, LLC||$4,860.78|
|Wisconsin||Green Valley Dairy, LLC||$4,043.74|
|Wisconsin||Norm E-Lane, Inc.||$1,597.34|
|Wisconsin||Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy, LLC||$1,442.81|
|Wisconsin||Quantum Dairy, LLC||$1,212.23|
|Wisconsin||Statz Brothers, Inc.||$1,033.10|
|Wisconsin||Clover Hill Dairy, LLC||$967.29|
|Wisconsin||Grotegut Dairy Farm, Inc.||$752.48|
Source: USDA, "Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Producer Payments to Promote Bioenergy Production in Rural America," January 20, 2011.
Updated Anaerobic Digestion Protocol
The AgSTAR Program recently worked with a team of expert reviewers to update the Protocol for Quantifying and Reporting the Performance of Anaerobic Digestion Systems for Livestock Manures. The Protocol was originally published in 2007 to provide a standard method for evaluating anaerobic digestion systems. The recent revisions keep the Protocol current and make it applicable to a wider variety of digesters and gas use technologies. The updated Protocol also introduces additional, less-involved levels of evaluation and includes evaluation criteria for co-digestion.
The AgSTAR Program would like to thank the following reviewers for their time and effort assisting with the Protocol update:
- Steve Dvorak, GHD, Inc.
- Thomas Fiesinger, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
- Curt Gooch, Cornell University
- M. Charles Gould, Michigan State University
- Richard Hegg, USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service
- Darren Hickman, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
- John Katers, University of Wisconsin—Green Bay
- Joseph Kramer, Energy Center of Wisconsin
- William Lazarus, University of Minnesota
- Norma McDonald, Organic Waste Systems, Inc.
- Steffan Mueller, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Jenny Pronto, Cornell University
- Kurt Roos, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Diane Saber, Renewable Energy and Environmental Consultants
- Joe Schultz, Wisconsin Focus on Energy
- Daniel Scruton, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets
- Melissa VanOrnum, GHD, Inc.
USDA and Dairy Industry Support Digesters
On December 15, 2010, USDA commemorated the one-year anniversary of its historic agreement with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dairy farms by 25 percent by 2020. Since the signing, they have partnered to increase the number of operating anaerobic digesters on farms, and encouraged research and development of new technologies to help dairies reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, funding has been provided to support development of 30 anaerobic digesters, along with the evaluation of the economic feasibility of anaerobic digesters on numerous farms.
Also in December 2010, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy published the industry's first sustainability progress report. One of their strategies for meeting their greenhouse gas emission reduction commitment is to address barriers to the adoption of digesters that capture methane gas emitted from manure and turn it into a source of renewable power. They will work with USDA and AgSTAR to connect farmers to tools and resources and explore innovative financing vehicles, such as loan guarantees and tax-exempt bonds.
Sources: USDA, "USDA Observes the Anniversary of an Agreement to Cut Dairy Farm Greenhouse Gas Emissions," December 15, 2010; and Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy, U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment Progress Report (PDF) (62 pp, 4.02 MB), December 2010.
Newly Operational Digesters
Dubois Farm (Vermont)
In November 2010, the anaerobic digester at the Dubois Farm in Addison, Vermont, began producing biogas. The vertically mixed plug flow digester, which was constructed by GHD, Inc., will use manure from the farm's herd of more than 1,000 cows to generate up to 2.7 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually. The electricity will be delivered to the grid and purchased through the state's voluntary Cow Power program, which pays a premium price of $0.04 per kWh over the standard electricity rate. Additionally, the farm qualified as a Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) to sell power at a higher standard-offer price. In addition to producing revenue by electricity generation, the digester will create cost savings for Dubois Farms through the use of byproducts: the digester's liquid output is an effective fertilizer, and its organic solid output can be substituted for sawdust bedding. Additionally, about a third of the cost of the $2.6 million digester was paid for by grants from USDA and the state of Vermont. The Dubois Farm's digester is Vermont's tenth digester to come online.
Sources: Andrea Suozzo, "Dubois Farm Running on Cow Power," Addison County Independent, November 18, 2010; and Vermont Public Service Board, "Docket No. 7584" (PDF) (17 pp, 107K), May 2010.
Additional details can be found in Dane County Project Manager John Welch's presentation from last year's AgSTAR conference.
Dane County Cow Power Facility (Wisconsin)
The first anaerobic digester in Dane County, Wisconsin, began operating in December 2010. Clear Horizons built and operates the complete mix digester, which generates electricity for sale to Alliant Energy. Clear Horizons funded the digester's $12 million construction costs. The digester will use manure from nearly 7,500 cows from three local family farms: Ripp's Dairy Valley Farm, White Gold Dairy, and Richard Endres Farm. This will be the first digester in Wisconsin to use manure from a cluster of farms. Once the digester is fully operational, it will be fitted with phosphorus removal equipment, paid with funding from the state of Wisconsin. This equipment is expected to substantially improve the water quality of the local watershed. As discussed later in the newsletter, a second digester project is underway.
Sources: Dane County Press Release, "County Executive Falk, Farmers Help Start Operation of Dane County 'Cow Power' Facility," December 16, 2010; and Strand Associates, "Dane County, Wisconsin, Community Manure Management Feasibility Study (PDF)," (41 pp, 270K) June 2010.
Digester Facility Adds Food to the Mix
Brubaker Farms was awarded the 2010 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence for its recent anaerobic digester project and other environmental initiatives. The farm has a complete mix digester that was designed by RCM and has been operational since 2007. Several years ago, the farm started to add food wastes to the digester. Currently, the system produces electricity using a combination of food waste from Elizabethtown College and manure from the cows at Brubaker Farm. Food waste from Elizabethtown's dining facilities is ground up and piped to the Somat Company extractor, which "dewaters" the organic material. The water acquired during the dewatering process is recycled as gray water on campus before being eventually shipped to Brubaker Farm as wastewater. The wastewater and digester solids are transported twice per week to Brubaker Farm, where they are mixed with cow manure and fed into the on-site digester. The digester generates 210 kWh of electricity, which is sold to the grid. The farm also receives a tipping fee from the College for accepting the food wastes and the school saves money in reduced waste hauling costs.
Sources: ABC-WHTM Local News, "Elizabethtown College Project Turns Food Waste Into Electricity," November 10, 2010; Elizabethtown College, "Green Innovation Turns Elizabethtown College Food Waste Into Electricity," October 10, 2010; and RCM International, "News and Updates," April 2008.
Digesters Under Construction
Rock Creek Dairy (Idaho)
Rock Creek Dairy in Filer, Idaho, is planning to install a digester on its farm. The farm, which is owned and operated by Bettencourt Dairies, LLC, plans to transport waste by a mile-long pipeline to a centralized digester from three adjacent locations that house a total of 8,900 head of dairy cows. Rock Creek has received project approval from the Idaho Public Utility Commission and will work with Idaho Power to deliver electricity to the grid. The project will be owned by Western States Equipment, Inc., and Exergy New Energy, LLC, and developed and managed by Exergy New Energy, LLC. In addition to generating electricity and revenue, the digester will reduce greenhouse gases and odors emitted by the farm. Furthermore, a chemical separation system will remove water pollutants from the digester's effluent stream.
Sources: MagicValley.com, "One of Idaho's Largest Dairies Plans to Install Methane Digester in Filer," December 2010; and Dairy Today Editors, "Idaho Dairy Plans Multiple-Site Anaerobic Digester Project," AgWeb, December 2010.
Hampton Feed Lot (Missouri)
On September 1, 2010, the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Missouri's first anaerobic digester was held on-site at the Hampton Feed Lot, a 2,500-head beef feedlot operation in Chariton County. Over 100 people attended the ceremony, including representatives from USDA. The manure produced on the feedlot will be fed into the digester to generate up to 14,400 kWh of electricity per day. The Kansas City Power and Light Company has agreed to purchase the electricity produced by the digester. In addition to methane gas capture, the digester's environmental benefits include improved wastewater quality and reduced odor releases. Andigen, LLC, designed the digester, which had a total project cost of about $4 million; Cartwright Engineers provided project engineering services. The project was funded through a $450,000 grant from Energize Missouri Renewable Energy Biogas Grants, which received funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. USDA also provided an 80 percent loan guarantee. The Hampton Feed Lot anaerobic digester represents an important first step for Missouri, which AgSTAR estimates contains hundreds of farms that could profit from anaerobic digesters.
Sources: Missouri Enterprise, "Hampton Feed Lot to Build State's First Anaerobic Digester (PDF)," (2 pp, 468K) Impact! Volume 8, Number 6, September 2010; and U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, "Energize Missouri Renewable Energy Biogas Grants Awarded," July 2010.
Burrows Hall Farm (South Carolina)
Four years ago Duffy Connolly, owner of Burrows Hall Farm, approached Santee Cooper, South Carolina's state-owned electric and water utility, with an idea of building an anaerobic digester that could capture methane gas from manure generated at his 9,600-head hog farm. Santee Cooper turned to Clemson University's South Carolina Institute for Energy Studies, which studied the proposals through a $200,000 state agriculture grant. After evaluating more than 20 designs, Environmental Fabrics, Inc. won the $600,000 project, and construction is now under way. Upon completion, Environmental Fabrics will own and operate the digester and Santee Cooper has contracted to purchase the green power.
Source: Santee Cooper, "Anaerobic Digester Benefits Environment and Economy (PDF)," (3 pp, 69K) January 2011.
Future Digester Projects
Johnson County Egg Farm (Missouri)
The first commercial-scale anaerobic digester in Missouri to create biogas from chicken manure will go into operation in 2012 on the Johnson County Egg Farm in Johnson County. The digester will be built by BioStar Systems, LLC; it will be fed liquid waste from the farm's 2.4 million chickens and will have a capacity of 4 million gallons. The biogas it generates will be piped off the farm by the Southern Star Gas Pipeline Company before being sold to local gas utilities. Solid waste output from the digester will be dried for use as organic fertilizer. The project is being partially funded by a $450,000 grant from the Energize Missouri Renewable Energy Biogas program, which was made available through funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Sources: Sue Sterling, "Biogas Operator Coming," The Daily Star Journal, November 2010; and U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, "Energize Missouri Renewable Energy Biogas Grants Awarded," July 2010.
Dane County Cow Power II (Wisconsin)
Four dairy farms in Dane County, Wisconsin, are partnering with Clear Horizons and the county to build the second centralized anaerobic digester in the area. The complete mix digester will generate electricity using manure from 2,500 of the county's 50,000 dairy cows. Construction is expected to begin during summer 2011. This digester and its predecessor—which began operating in December 2010—both feature phosphorous removal technology, which is being financed with state funding.
Sources: WisBusiness.com, "Dane County Announces Second 'Cow Power' Project," November 2010.
USDA Survey Results
In February 2011, USDA announced the results of the 2009 On-Farm Renewable Energy Production Survey. Conducted by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service as a follow-up to the most recent Census of Agriculture, the survey was the first nationwide survey to look at renewable energy practices (anaerobic digesters, solar panels, and wind turbines) on America's farms and ranches. According to the 2009 On-Farm Renewable Energy Production Survey, these technologies have increased significantly over the past decade and there are now more than 8,000 operations producing their own renewable energy. In 2009, the use of anaerobic digesters was reported by 121 farms, which own or operate 140 anaerobic digesters in 29 states. The states with the most digesters were Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, and California. The average installation cost of a methane digester was $1.7 million, with just over 30.5 million cubic feet of methane produced on average per digester.
Source: USDA, "On-Farm Renewable Energy Production Shows Tremendous Growth," February 23, 2011.
States Award Grants to Digesters
In January 2011, the California Energy Commission awarded $26 million in funding to produce biomethane for use as a transportation fuel under the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The program aims to fund projects involving the design, construction, and operation of biomethane production facilities. One of the projects that received funding was Pixley Biogas, LLC, which received nearly $5 million for an anaerobic digester project. The digesters will be located on property owned by Calgren Renewable Fuels, a 55 million gallon per year ethanol production plant, located in Pixley. The digesters' feedstock will be manure from three local dairies and the energy created will be used by the Calgren facility.
Sources: California Energy Commission, "Notice of Proposed Award (PDF)" (3 pp, 56K), January 28, 2011; and California Energy Commission, Localized Health Impacts Report (PDF) (19 pp, 667K), CEC-600-2010-004, May 2010.
In December 2010, Ohio Department of Development Director Lisa Patt-McDaniel announced that projects will receive $10 million in grant awards funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's State Energy Program. Of the 11 projects selected to receive funding, 10 projects are anaerobic digesters and the other is a landfill gas project. Projects receiving funding for anaerobic digesters using manure include:
- Comp Dairy Energy in Ashtabula County, which will receive $1 million to own and operate an anaerobic digester in Dorset Township. The dairy will supply 66 wet tons of manure per day, and a waste hauler will supply 66 wet tons of regional fats, oil, and grease per day to generate more than 4.7 million kWh of electricity annually.
- Hord Livestock, Inc., in Crawford County will receive $500,000 to install an on-farm anaerobic digestion and cogeneration system to convert approximately 7.7 million gallons of beef and swine manure and 230,000 gallons of food waste to provide nearly 3 million kWh of electricity annually.
Source: Ohio Department of Development, "Patt-McDaniel Announces American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Awards Transforming Waste to Value (PDF)," (3 pp, 175K) December 9, 2010.
AgSTAR Featured on the Ag Information Network
In January 2011, the Ag Information Network, a radio network in the Northwest, aired Looking into AgSTAR. Greg Martin, from the Line on Agriculture program, interviewed Allison Costa, Program Manager with AgSTAR. During the interview Allison discussed the AgSTAR program and its effort to promote the recovery and use of methane from animal manure through anaerobic digesters. She also discussed the upcoming AgSTAR annual conference being held in Idaho and its tours to digester projects.
USDA Publishes Anaerobic Digestion Reports
In February 2011, USDA's Economic Research Service published two reports about anaerobic digesters. One report, entitled Climate Change Policy and the Adoption of Methane Digesters on Livestock Operations (PDF) (47 pp, 1.34 MB), includes an economic model that illustrates how dairy and hog operation size, location, and manure management methods, along with electricity and carbon prices, could influence methane digester profits. The other report, Carbon Prices and the Adoption of Methane Digesters on Dairy and Hog Farms (PDF) (8 pp, 386K), is similar in that it shows how the additional income from the potential sale of carbon offsets will help to make anaerobic digesters more profitable and more manageable for farmers.
Waste to Biogas Mapping Tool
EPA's Region 9, which includes Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations, has released a Waste to Biogas Mapping Tool. This interactive map connects organic waste producers and potential users in these states for the purpose of biogas production. Potential sources of organic waste included as part of this tool are food processers; cities with organics collection programs (California only); fats, oils, and grease collection programs (California only); dairies (California only); and grocery stores.
Global Methane Initiative
Agriculture Subcommittee Met In November 2010
The Global Methane Initiative's (GMI's) Agriculture Subcommittee met on November 12, 2010, in Venice, Italy. The Subcommittee discussed the outcomes of the Methane to Markets Ministerial Meeting and the direction provided by the Steering Committee. The Subcommittee also shared country updates and information about recently conducted Resource Assessments. The Subcommittee emphasized the importance of countries creating and maintaining action plans and keeping up-to-date on reporting of activities. The group also reviewed future tasks, including the creation of an international calculator tool for anaerobic digester projects and an international database of anaerobic digestion systems.
Latest Edition of Methane International
The latest edition of the GMI newsletter, Methane International #22, is available on the GMI website. Read about the latest in Partnership news, including the recently released fifth annual U.S. Government's Methane to Markets Partnership Accomplishments report. The report documents the leadership efforts of the U.S. federal government to reduce and recover methane around the world, including its progress in reducing methane emissions in each GMI sector, including agriculture.
New Anaerobic Digester Program
USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently awarded a $300,000 grant to Bellingham Technical College (BTC) to create an Anaerobic Digester Technical Certificate that will train students to operate, repair, and maintain anaerobic digesters. The degree program will be housed at the college and supported by Washington State University's Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources and Andgar Corporation. Washington State University will assist the program with curriculum development and dissemination, and Andgar will provide industry insight and training support. This degree program was developed in response to the growing interest in digestion systems to meet states' renewable energy and climate change goals. Whatcom County, where BTC is located, has a strong agricultural community and is the site of the oldest anaerobic digester in the state of Washington. As part of the new training program, several small digesters will be built at BTC to give students hands-on experience.
Source: Bellingham Technical College, "Bellingham Technical College Receives $299,387 for Innovative Renewable Energy Source Training Curriculum (PDF)," (2 pp, 39 KB) January 28, 2011.
REAP Applications Are Being Accepted
USDA Rural Development State Offices are accepting applications for REAP grants and loan guarantees. REAP (Section 9007 of the 2008 Farm Bill) provides incentives for the development/construction of renewable energy projects, such as anaerobic digester projects. REAP renewable energy grants can provide up to 25 percent of eligible project costs, up to $500,000. Loan guarantees or grant and loan guarantee combinations are capped at 75 percent of eligible project costs. Livestock producers and rural small businesses are eligible for funding. For all projects, the system must be located in a rural area, must be technically feasible, and must be owned by the applicant.
Application materials may be obtained by contacting your USDA Rural Development State Office. Although USDA has not released state allocations or set the deadline for applying for this fiscal year's funding, the Agency is encouraging candidates to submit their applications early.
Section 1603 Cash Grant for Renewable Energy, Deadline Extended: October 1, 2012
Administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury, Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created a new grant program for taxpayers eligible for the business energy investment tax credit. A facility owner can choose to receive a one-time grant equal to 30 percent of the construction and installation costs for the facility, as long as the facility is depreciable or amortizable. Eligible projects include anaerobic digesters, landfill gas, solar, and wind. The facility must be placed in service in 2009, 2010, or 2011 or construction must begin in any of those years and be completed prior to the end of 2014.
Iowa Alliant Energy's Farm Anaerobic Digester Cash-Back Reward, No Deadline
Alliant Energy's Renewable Cash-Back Rewards program offers rebates for anaerobic digester systems. To qualify for this program, a business or farm must be an Iowa Alliant Energy electric customer. In addition, the renewable system must offset on-site electric usage and construction of the renewable system must begin after July 1, 2010. To apply for the program, customers must first use the online self-assessment tool. Alliant Energy will then contact customers to schedule an energy efficiency audit and a site assessment to determine the incentive level and the renewable energy potential. Funding available is equal to 50 percent of system cost, up to a maximum of $200,000 per project.
Colorado Renewable Energy Development Team Program, No Deadline
The Renewable Energy Development Team (REDT) was created to support the Colorado Governor's Energy Office. The goal of the program is to identify renewable energy projects with the best likelihood of development and to move eligible projects closer to success. No direct grant funding will be made available to applicants; rather, up to 120 hours of technical assistance will be provided through this program. The program is intended to support projects that do not have the financial capabilities to progress to the investor and/or project developer review stage without additional assistance. Projects must be located in Colorado; local governments, non-profits, utilities, and land owners are eligible to apply. Eligible technologies and project types include anaerobic digestion projects.
Chesapeake Bay Technology Summit
March 24–25, 2011
Building on a successful technology exchange last year, Farm Pilot Policy Coordination (FPPC) will use this symposium to intensify its focus on the nutrient reduction challenge of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The symposium will focus on the role of thermochemical processes in capturing nutrients and reclaiming energy from the animal waste stream. FPPC will update participants on results of their technology projects and invite all stakeholders to discuss the implications of a tightening regulatory environment.
On-Farm Biogas Workshop
March 31, 2011
Sponsored by Virginia Cooperative Extension, this day-long workshop on anaerobic digestion biogas will be held at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds and explore biogas technology, gas use, project examples from around the world, and more. Registration is $10 and includes lunch. RSVP is required by March 21 by calling 540-466-4674 or using the informational flyer (PDF) (2 pp, 519K). Contact Allison Costa (email@example.com; 202-343-9468) to set up a meeting with AgSTAR at the workshop.
Biocycle Global 2011
April 11–14, 2011
San Diego, California
Conference sessions will feature over 70 technical and practical presentations on maximum resource capture and utilization via composting, recycling and anaerobic digestion; food waste management; biogas and biomethane markets; compost utilization; optimizing facility processes; green infrastructure; organics collection; local food systems and urban agriculture; and much more. Stop by AgSTAR's booth or contact AgSTAR (firstname.lastname@example.org) to set-up a meeting during the event.
Anaerobic Digester Operator Training Program
April 13–15, 2011
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Organized by University of Wisconsin-College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Extension, Michigan State University Extension, Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the Anaerobic Digester Operator Training Program is offering a 3-day course for anaerobic digester operators. The comprehensive workshop provides a systems perspective for digester operator safety and digester management, and will cover everything from design options and optimization of system operation to system start-up and troubleshooting to biogas and digestate end uses, safety, and regulatory/permitting issues. There will be both an operator and a vendor panel. Space is limited; register early!
Navigating the American Carbon World 2011
April 13–15, 2011
Los Angeles, California
Organized by the Climate Action Reserve and Point Carbon, attendees of the event will have the opportunity to listen to California government leaders and regulators discuss the state's landmark climate change and energy bill, AB 32; discuss the status of the Western Climate Initiative and the development of its cap-and-trade program; get the most up-to-date information on supply and demand for allowances and offsets; discuss the roles of agriculture and forestry in the offset markets; and learn about the nuts and bolts of offset protocols under AB 32.
International Biomass Conference & Expo
May 2–5, 2011
St. Louis, Missouri
The growth of the U.S. animal-raising industry has posed new challenges and opportunities in the area of animal waste management. This conference, organized by Biomass Power & Thermal and Biorefining magazines, has a livestock and poultry waste dedicated track, which will explore the science, economics, and sustainability of producing power and/or fuels from this feedstock.
Global Methane Initiative Agriculture Subcommittee Meeting
May 9, 2011
The next Global Methane Initiative Agriculture Subcommittee meeting will be held in conjunction with the Sixth AgSTAR National Conference.
Sixth AgSTAR National Conference
May 10–12, 2011
Interest in manure digester systems is at an all-time high. Don't miss out on the only national conference dedicated exclusively to advancing the development of these systems. Building on the success of last year's conference in Green Bay, planning is underway for the Sixth AgSTAR National Conference, which will include technical presentations on a variety of topics related to anaerobic digestion, expanded networking events, exhibiting opportunities, and tours of local dairy farm anaerobic digestion systems.