Energy
July 31, 2017, Lumberton, N.C. - Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the renewable energy plant that's turning its waste into electricity.

It's a new twist on an old joke, but it's true. Georgia Renewable Power (GRP) is restoring a former coal power plant to do exactly that, in the rural community of Lumberton, North Carolina.

Agriculture is an enormous industry in North Carolina. Known as the American Broiler Belt, the state garners hundreds of thousands of jobs from this industry, most of which comes from poultry. More than 5,700 farmers sell this type of harvest statewide and the local economy is $37 billion larger because of it.

Reflecting this success, chicken coops are expanding, both in size and in number. But because some of these farms produce 700 tons or more poultry manure each year, they're exceeding the amount of farmland that can use it as fertilizer. It has to go somewhere else, and if not managed properly, unneeded manure can be dangerous to the health of local waterways and the people who depend on them. READ MORE 
Published in Poultry
July 27, 2017, California - A liquid organic biofertilizer made from the material that is left over after manure or food waste is digested to create clean electricity compares favorably in nutrient value with commonly used synthetic materials in trials on canning tomatoes and corn.

UC Davis professor of biological and agricultural engineering Ruihong Zhang designed an anaerobic biodigester nearly 10 years ago that is used to turn food waste from campus dining halls into clean energy.

Several dairies have also invested in digesters to treat their manure, which would otherwise emit the greenhouse gas methane, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture offers grants to help defray the cost.

Cost is the major stumbling block to more widespread use of the technology, and the trial of a biofertilizer made in the campus digester is an attempt to see if the bottom line can be made just a little more favorable. READ MORE
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
July 26, 2017, Petaluma, CA – Tesla, mooo-ve over: California dairy farmer Albert Straus, a pioneer in organic dairy and sustainable agriculture, announces the launch of the first full-scale electric truck – powered by cow manure.

This new full-scale-electric feed truck is the next step in Straus' quest to show that his Marin county organic dairy farm can be carbon positive, using agriculture as a solution to reversing climate change.

Straus, along with a local mechanic, spent eight years developing the 33,000 lb. gross weight truck to use as a feed truck on his farm. The truck measures, mixes and hauls feed before dropping it into the trough for his nearly 300 organic dairy cows.

An environmentally-friendly alternative to diesel-fueled trucks, the feed truck's motor is charged from electrical power generated from methane gas produced by the cows' own manure.

California dairy farmers are facing pressure to lower methane emissions under the state's ambitious new greenhouse gas reduction laws, which include methane emission reduction targets of 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030.

The state's Air Resources Board says that much of the reduction should come from converting methane from cow manure into energy. Dairy manure accounts for about a quarter of the state's methane emissions.

"What I've tried to do is create a sustainable organic farming model that is good for the earth, the soil, the animals, and the people working on these farms, and helps revitalize rural communities," said Albert Straus, CEO and founder of Straus Family Creamery.

Straus added, "My electric feed truck is not only a practical tool for my organic farm. It is also a symbol of the resourcefulness we need to fight climate change, which threatens our business and the future of American farming."

Straus' methane digester has been powering his farm since 2004, fueling his all-electric Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Leaf plus smaller farm vehicles and machinery. Working with the Marin Carbon Project, his 500-acre farm is California's first dairy to develop a 20-year carbon farming plan to sequester 2,000 metric tons of carbon every year.

Straus' goal is to demonstrate to the farming community and public that farmers can implement and teach others practical solutions to climate change. Ultimately, Straus is working towards getting his farm off fossil fuels entirely.

United States plug-in electrical vehicle sales have increased nine-fold since 2011, per Inside EVs. Yet Straus believes he is the first to put a full-scale electric feed truck into use, getting the jump on Tesla Motor's electric semi-truck slated for September 2017 release.

Next, he plans to unveil an all-electric Farmers' Market truck to transport his company Straus Family Creamery's organic milk, cream, yogurt, ice cream and butter to local markets in San Francisco Bay Area.
Published in Energy
July 25, 2017, Canyon County, ID - A group of businessmen, mostly from the Treasure Valley, is proposing to build a $94 million plant in rural Canyon County to turn sorghum into paper plates and other food-packaging products, and to turn sorghum waste, manure and slaughterhouse waste into natural gas for energy.

The plant would be built on farmland where U.S. 26 meets U.S. 95 southeast of Parma. It has cleared several local zoning and permitting challenges. Now comes the hard part: raising money to build it, starting with $18 million for a first phase.

The group has formed a company called Treasure Valley Renewables. Its members include people with experience in manufacturing, ethanol plants, pulping mills and anaerobic (oxygen-free bacterial) digester operations.

The three-building plant would house about 75 jobs paying an average of $45,000 per year, says Chuck Anderson, a leader of the ownership group. Anderson is president of Boise Bio Gas and owner of QBM Management in Boise, a project-management and process-analysis company.

One part of the plant would turn sorghum into fiber molds Anderson says would make a biodegradable material for producers looking to replace Styrofoam food packaging material.

Neither product offers the kind of instant riches that venture capitalists usually target when they invest millions into technology companies, Anderson says. But Anderson, who has spent a career engineering paper plants for large companies, says he's confident the plant promises the kind of steady profits to attract investors. READ MORE 
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
July 27, 2017, McKinney, Texas – Global Re-Fuel is an energy technology company that is poised to make a significant impact on poultry farming.

Its PLF-500 biomass furnace offers a pioneering farm technology that addresses financial, health and environmental issues facing the agriculture industry.

Global Re-Fuel's warm-air biomass furnace – now in use on a farm in Texas – converts raw poultry litter into energy, providing heat to broiler houses while creating a pathogen-free organic fertilizer.

"A ton of litter has the equivalent energy content of 67 gallons of propane. Extracting that heat and using the ash as fertilizer is a really good situation, which not only helps farmers, but is also beneficial to the environment," says Glenn Rodes, a farmer who has used the technology on his Virginia poultry farm.

As the number of poultry operations in the U.S. increases, so do the attendant problems.

Today, there are more than 110,000 broiler houses in the country, with that number expected to exceed 131,000 by 2024, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) growth projections of the industry.

More than 32 billion pounds of poultry litter were generated in 2015. That number is expected to grow to more than 37 billion pounds per year by 2024, which will exacerbate the soil nutrient overload that contributes to runoff pollution into US waterways.

In addition, poultry farms require a great deal of propane to heat broiler houses, with the average broiler house using about 6,000 gallons of propane each year.

In 2015, more than 8.5 million tons of CO2 were emitted from burning propane to heat broiler houses, and that number is projected to grow to almost 10 million tons by 2024, according to the USDA. Global Re-Fuel's technology eliminates nearly 100 percent of propane usage, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 70,000 lbs/yr/house.

"The Global Re-Fuel PLF-500 increases farmers' operating margins, decreases pollution, eliminates propane usage – which reduces CO2 emissions – and improves poultry living conditions," says Rocky Irvin, a founding member of Global Re-Fuel and a poultry grower for more than 10 years. "It's good for the family farm and the environment."
Published in Equipment
July 6, 2017, Haverhill, MA - Neighbors of Haverhill's Crescent Farm will soon notice a change in the air — literally.

The farm, which has nearly 200 dairy cows, will begin construction on an anaerobic waste digester the week of July 10. It aims to begin using the machine to convert manure into renewable methane fuel within seven months.

The digester, the sixth in the state and fourth constructed and managed by Wellesley's Vanguard Renewables, will convert roughly 100 tons of manure and organic food waste per day.

"Once it's running at full capacity, the digester will provide direct power to about 950 homes in the area," said John Hanselman, chairman of Vanguard Renewables. READ MORE
Published in Energy
July 5, 2017, Anson County, NC - The idea of trucks shipping chicken waste up their road to be cooked in a facility adjacent to their properties has ruffled the feathers of some Wadesboro homeowners. But Anson County's economic development director says the project is misunderstood and that homeowners have little to fear.

A small crowd packed the conference room of the Anson County Chamber of Commerce on June 20 to learn more about a proposed anaerobic digester and electric generation facility that may be built on Stanback Ferry Ice Plant Road.

A few were in favor of the facility, several were against it, and others wanted to learn more about it before making a decision. READ MORE
Published in News
July 4, 2017, Somerset County, NJ - A giant facility being planned in Somerset County may convert tons of chicken litter into electricity some day, but first it may need to make converts out of skeptical neighbors and environmentalists.

Its critics charge that the anaerobic digester, if built, would pollute the air with methane and nearby waterways with nutrients while giving further license to the region's poultry industry to continue its expansion. READ MORE
Published in Poultry
June 14, 2017 - A bill within the House is proposing to establish federal tax credits for farmers who invest in nutrient recovery systems.

The Agricultural Environmental Stewardship Act was introduced in the House last week by bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wisc., and cosponsor U.S. Rep. Tom Reed. Bipartisan legislation aims to promote new technological investments that produce energy and limit runoff into waterways.

The proposal could benefit farmers within the Chautauqua Lake watershed and elsewhere by making nutrient recovery systems like manure digesters more affordable. Manure digesters collect manure and convert the energy stored in its organic matter into methane. READ MORE
Published in News
May 31, 2017, Orange County, Cali. - In the "Back to the Future" film franchise trilogy, Dr. Emmet Brown replaced the plutonium-based nuclear generator in the De Lorean time machine with a "Mr. Fusion" generator from the future that uses garbage as fuel.

CR & R Environmental Services has a similar dream for the future – turning waste into energy through an advanced technology called anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion produces "biogas" from organic waste in a zero waste, 100 percent renewable process.

At a recent Economic Workforce Development Committee luncheon hosted by the Lake Elsinore Chamber of Commerce at the Diamond Club at Storm Stadium, Alex Braicovich, senior regional vice president at CR & R, shared the vision, the process and the progress of their initiative of "Turning Today's Waste into Tomorrow's Energy."

CR & R, a full service, privately held, integrated waste management company based in Orange County, California, was founded in 1963 with one truck in a waste-hauling operation and later added two recycling trucks.

Today, the company has grown to include 50 municipal contracts in Southern California and southwestern United States.

They have 12 processing contracts and utilize 1,000 trucks every day with 1,600 employees that serve 2.5 million residential customers and 50,000 commercial customers. They have two solid waste facilities, five transfer stations and two landfills – a large one in Yuma, Arizona, and a smaller one serving Catalina Island.

The company has always been on the leading edge, including having the first recycling buy-back center in Orange County, the first three-can, fully automated curbside collection system, the first network of Material Recovery Facilities and one of the first bio-filtration systems. READ MORE


Published in Companies
May 30, 2017, U.S. - A pair of federal efforts could make it more profitable to turn organic waste from agriculture and other sources into energy by taking advantage of the Renewable Fuel Standard.

One is a bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate that would create a 30 percent investment tax credit for qualifying biogas and nutrient-recovery systems. That would put renewable compressed natural gas on a similar footing with solar and wind energy.

A separate approach, currently before the Environmental Protection Agency, aims to create a pathway that would pay biogas producers for providing power for electric vehicles.

An energy consultant from Des Moines is one of several people in the U.S. trying to devise a record-keeping system that ultimately would pay biogas producers much more than they now earn for generating electricity. READ MORE
Published in Biogas
May 29, 2017, Boston, MA - For years, dairy farmers have used cow manure as fertilizer to spread over crops like corn and hay. But two farms in Western Massachusetts have a new use for all that manure -- renewable energy.

Luther Belden Farm in Hatfield and Rockwood Farms in Granville are embarking on a project to turn cow manure into electricity as a way to become self-sustaining and stabilize their finances in what they say is a volatile market.

The farms are working in partnership with the the Hampshire Council of Governments and Pennsylvania-based startup Ag-Grid Energy.

The farms hope to break ground on two on-site agricultural anaerobic digesters this summer. READ MORE
Published in Energy
May 24, 2017, Granville, Mass. – The Town of Granville could soon be using cattle to create energy.

The town's select board plans to power their municipal buildings with credits from Rockwood Farm, which is planning to build a methane digestor.

A digestor converts manure into methane gas, which will run a generator that will heat and power the farm. The farm will sell its metering credits to the town.

The local renewable energy would reduce the cost for powering town buildings. READ MORE
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
May 23, 2017, Potsdam, NY – Clarkson University will use federal funding to advance anaerobic digestion techniques for small-to-medium-scale dairy farmers.

The university will work in conjunction with the Cornell Cooperative Extension farm dairy specialists on farms working to improve manure management.

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand recently announced $500,000 in new federal funding for Clarkson University.

The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

NIFA grants support research and programs that help dairy producers and growers achieve long-term viability, high yield, and labor efficient production of local agricultural products. READ MORE
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
May 19, 2017, Waunakee, WI - Once infamous for spills, permit violations and even an explosion, the manure digester just north of Waunakee is now receiving accolades from an environmental group dedicated to clean lakes.

The Clean Lakes Alliance presented Clean Fuel Partners, LLC, the digester operator, with the Lumley Leadership Award for Lake Stewardship for its efforts to reduce phosphorus entering the Yahara Watershed.

"We were completely surprised and caught off guard when we were announced," said Clean Fuel CEO John Haeckel. "I would like to think it's because we have been working to make the Waunakee facility work, to sort of resurrect it from a place where it wasn't successful."

The manure digester was originally built in partnership with Dane County and operated by a different company, Clear Horizons, with the intention of removing algae-causing phosphorus from three area farms that would otherwise flow into lakes and streams.

The digester also captures methane in the process to produce energy. READ MORE
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
May 15, 2017, Raleigh, NC – PrairieChar, a Kansas company developing a system to convert animal manure into useful products, won the $10,000 cash prize and $3,500 in legal and financial advice at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center's 2017 Ag Biotech Entrepreneurial Showcase.

PrairieChar Chairman and CEO Robert Herrington said he started the company because his wife made him buy her a horse farm.

He suffered a broken back when a tree fell on him as he was clearing a pasture. Lying in bed recuperating, he called friends in California and asked them to send him business plans to review. One caught his eye.

"We're in the manure business," Herrington said of what has become his new adventure. "We take something you don't want and turn it into something you do."

Manure is a cost center in the cattle, swine and poultry industries. It causes disposal and environmental problems.

In North Carolina, one of the top swine producers in the nation, manure from swine and poultry adds up to 40 billion pounds a year. Swine manure put into lagoons causes odor and environmental problems that Herrington believes can be solved with PrairieChar's technology.

PrairieChar, which Herrington said was engineered to be a scalable, cost-effective solution, is developing machines the size of cargo containers that can be placed next to a manure pile. The manure never has to be transported more than 300 feet. The company's revenue-share model means it gets the manure for nothing and farmers turn a cost center into a revenue stream.

The machines turn the manure into two valuable sterile products, he said. The process eliminates emissions into the air and removes soil and water hazards. One product produced is a "100 percent OMRI organic fertilizer that can reduce conventional fertilizer needs."

The other is a sustainable, renewable coal substitute that produces an ash that is actually valuable instead of being an environmental hazard like coal ash. It is 90 percent pure phosphate that can be sold for 25-cents to one-dollar a pound.

"We can change the way we're dealing with environmental issues," Herrington said. "We could convert manure into 33 million tons of our products annually."

It would also create jobs paying $50,000 to $70,000 annually in rural America, he added.

The machines cost $550,000 to build. The company recently opened a Series A round looking for $5 million. Although the company currently plans to begin operations on cattle manure in Kansas, Herrington said that if enough of its funding comes from North Carolina, it will target swine manure "sooner rather than later."
Published in Companies
May 9, 2017, Sacramento, Cali. - The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for project funding from the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP), authorized by the Budget Act of 2016.

This program receives funding from California Climate Investments Program, with proceeds from the state's cap-and-trade auctions, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while providing a variety of additional benefits to California communities.

CDFA-DDRDP will award between $29 million and $36 million for the installation of dairy digesters in California that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Existing milk producers and dairy digester developers can apply for funding of up to $3 million per project for anaerobic digestion projects that provide quantifiable greenhouse gas reductions. The program requires a minimum of 50 percent of total project cost as matching funds.

Prospective applicants must access the "Request for Applications" at www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/DD for detailed information on eligibility and program requirements.

To streamline and expedite the application process, CDFA is partnering with the State Water Resources Control Board, which hosts an online application tool, Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST).

All prospective applicants must register for a FAAST account at https://faast.waterboards.ca.gov.

Applications and all supporting information must be submitted electronically using FAAST by Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. PT.

CDFA will hold two workshops and one webinar to provide information on program requirements and the FAAST application process (see below). CDFA staff will provide guidance on the application process, provide several examples and answer any questions. There is no cost to attend the workshops. Individuals planning to attend should email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with his or her contact information, number of seats required and the workshop location.

Sacramento – Friday, May 12, 2017
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
California Department of Food and Agriculture
2800 Gateway Oaks Drive, Room 101
Sacramento, CA 95833

Tulare – Monday, May 15, 2017
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Tulare County Agricultural Building Auditorium
4437 S. Laspina Street
Tulare, CA 93274

Webinar – Tuesday, May 16, 2017
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
To register for the webinar, please visit the program webpage at www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/DD.

Prospective applicants may contact CDFA's Grants Office at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with general program questions.

Published in Anaerobic Digestion
May 8, 2017, Nigeria, Africa - Chicken is a favorite, inexpensive meat across the globe. But the bird's popularity results in a lot of waste that can pollute soil and water.

One strategy for dealing with poultry poop is to turn it into biofuel, and now scientists have developed a way to do this by mixing the waste with another environmental scourge, an invasive weed that is affecting agriculture in Africa. They report their approach in ACS' journal Energy & Fuels. 

Poultry sludge is sometimes turned into fertilizer, but recent trends in industrialized chicken farming have led to an increase in waste mismanagement and negative environmental impacts, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Droppings can contain nutrients, hormones, antibiotics and heavy metals and can wash into the soil and surface water. To deal with this problem, scientists have been working on ways to convert the waste into fuel. But alone, poultry droppings don't transform well into biogas, so it's mixed with plant materials such as switch grass.

Samuel O. Dahunsi, Solomon U. Oranusi and colleagues wanted to see if they could combine the chicken waste with Tithonia diversifolia (Mexican sunflower), which was introduced to Africa as an ornamental plant decades ago and has become a major weed threatening agricultural production on the continent.

The researchers developed a process to pre-treat chicken droppings, and then have anaerobic microbes digest the waste and Mexican sunflowers together. Eight kilograms of poultry waste and sunflowers produced more than 3 kg of biogas — more than enough fuel to drive the reaction and have some leftover for other uses such as powering a generator. Also, the researchers say that the residual solids from the process could be applied as fertilizer or soil conditioner.

The authors acknowledge funding from Landmark University


Published in Biogas
May 5, 2017, Haverhill, MA – A local farm has received the go-ahead to begin turning animal waste into energy – and will save the city an estimated $300,000 as a result.

The city council inked a deal May 2 with Vanguard Renewables to purchase power generated by an anaerobic digester at Bradford's Crescent Farms for 13 cents a kilowatt hour. READ MORE
Published in Energy
April 25, 2017, Lincoln, NE – For a team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln chemical and biomolecular engineering students, biogas refining isn't just a senior design capstone project, it's a potential means of supplying Nebraska's rural communities with a renewable source of energy that comes from resources that are both local and plentiful.

Tasked with helping Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) turn biogas into a more-refined form of natural gas, the team of Meryl Bloomfield, Heather Newell, K.J. Hafer and Dave Hansen saw that the state was among the nation's leaders in not only cattle population but in manure production.

Using an anaerobic digestion process, the team proposes turning that manure not only into fertilizer for crops but natural gas that NPPD could also use to create electricity that powers farms and rural communities across the state.

"Compared to other renewable energy sources – like wind and solar – biogas is more consistent," said Bloomfield. "Cows are always going to produce manure. You don't have to rely on having a sunny day or a windy day, especially In Nebraska, where wind and solar plants might not be as reliable as in Arizona and California."

According to The Cattle Network, Nebraska ranked second nationally in 2015 with approximately 6.3 million cattle or about seven percent of the U.S. population. One of the biggest uses of the manure produced by the cattle is the production of fertilizer.

The student team worked to develop a method that would allow the production of natural gas and still maintain a viable supply for fertilizer production. But that led to it expanding on its goal by proposing a solution that could be an economic boost to the rural community – a biogas upgrade refinery that would be strategically located near Broken Bow.

The refined natural gas from the Nebraska Biogas Upgrading Refinery would then be piped to NPPD's Canaday Station southeast of Lexington, where it could be used to create electricity.

"It would be centralized to where the cows are," Hansen said. "After designing the plant, we determined we'd need about a quarter of a million head of cattle to achieve the manure supply sufficient to reach the capacity NPPD is looking for.

The natural gas that would be similar to the gas used in homes across the country, Hansen said, except it would be collected as part of a natural process rather than relying on traditional means of extracting the gas – such as fracking or refining fossil fuels.

Newell also said the process would be more beneficial to the ecology.

"In doing this, we're reducing greenhouse gases from the cow manure that sits out and naturally becomes fertilizer," Newell said. "We're reducing the carbon dioxide and creating something useful from it."

Though their proposal isn't guaranteed to be implemented, Bloomfield said thinking about the human impact made this senior capstone experience valuable for the entire team.

"Knowing that it could be even a stepping stone to something for NPPD changed how we approached it," Bloomfield said. "When you're thinking theoretically, you can go a lot of different directions. When you're thinking about how it affects people and their lives, that's when it gets real."
Published in Biogas
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