Calif. agencies seek dairy digester projects

Press release
September 17, 2013
By Press release
September 17, 2013, Sacramento, Calif – The California Department of Food and Agriculture, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and their partner agencies in the California/Federal Dairy Digester Working Group have announced a joint solicitation for dairy digester concept proposals.

California is the largest dairy state in the U.S. with approximately 1.7 million cows producing more than 3.6 million dry tons of manure per year. This manure must be managed to reduce or mitigate environmental impacts. It can be processed by anaerobic digesters to produce biogas, a flexible renewable source of energy.

The ultimate goals of the collaboration are to see the widespread adoption of digester systems to better manage manure and nutrients, help address air and water quality concerns, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and produce renewable energy, fertilizer, and other value-added products.

“California farmers and ranchers are innovators by nature,” said Karen Ross, CDFA secretary. “Dairy digester technology is an idea whose time has come, and that is largely due to work done right here on California's dairy farms. We are at a point where focused funding can help us make the transition to wider adoption and implementation of digesters in our state.”

“Dairy digesters can benefit the environment by reducing greenhouse gasses and generating renewable energy,” said Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “(The) EPA is optimistic that this call for proposals will result in unique and innovative technologies that will benefit California, the nation’s number-one dairy state.”

In 2011, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Food and Agriculture convened the California/Federal Dairy Digester Working Group. This partnership of state, federal and local agencies, academia, industry, non-profits and utilities came together to identify and remove barriers to the development and permitting of dairy digester systems in California. The work has culminated in specific recommendations to reduce the economic, technical and regulatory hurdles currently in place, making digester systems more feasible in California (http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/EnvironmentalStewardship/pdfs/StatemntOfPrinciples-CA-FederalDairyDigesterWorkGroup.pdf). This joint solicitation for dairy digester concept proposals is another important result of the working group (http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley/dairy_digester_proposal/).

Proposals should include development, installation and operation of dairy manure digester and co-digester projects and may include processes for the treatment and disposal of waste streams from the digester operations to address environmental impacts. Dairy digester and co-digester development is expected to take place on individual dairies or at centralized facilities located within California.

Funding may be provided by various participating agencies of the California/Federal Diary Digester Working Group for proposals that are deemed most viable with the greatest measurable outcomes. Individual digester projects will have to qualify for funding on a case-by-case basis and projects can potentially receive financial support from multiple participants. To assist in identifying potential funding sources, the California/Federal Dairy Digester Working Group has put together a Funding Matrix document. The matrix identifies potential funding sources along with general criteria for the types of projects that would qualify for the funding. A copy of solicitation and the funding matrix can be found at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley/dairy_digester_proposal/dd_solicitation_guidance_v4.pdf.

For more information on diary digesters, please go to http://www.calepa.ca.gov/digester/Dairies/default.htm and http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/EnvironmentalStewardship/Dairy_DigesterS.html

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