Frear co-authors new paper on anaerobically digested dairy fiber

Regenis is proud to announce groundbreaking new work on uses for anaerobically digested dairy fiber from a consortium of industry-leading scientists, including our Director of Research and Technology, Dr. Craig Frear.

It’s long been known that post-digested dairy fiber could be used as clean source for cow bedding, as a peat moss substitute and as bio-fertilizers, but research from Dr.

Dr. Craig Frear, Regenis Director of Research and Technology

Frear and colleagues from Washington State University, Michigan State University and the Universidad de Cuenca, Cuenca, Ecuador, reveals the possibilities of allowing large dairies to become their own de-facto bio-refineries, “harnessing the manure for heat, power, fuel, chemicals, fertilizers, fiber, wood composites, and chars/carbons, while mitigating climate, air, water and human health concerns associated with the manure.”

Read more about this cutting-edge research here. 

 

Regenis Year In Review

2016: Year In Review


As 2016 comes to a close, we want to acknowledge all of our friends, colleagues and industry partners for joining us to reimagine reusable resources. Leaving behind a better planet for future generations is what inspires us to break new ground, and our research and technology will continue to advance how we view agricultural waste and put it to good use because as America’s foremost inventor, Benjamin Franklin, once said, “Waste not, want not.”

Biogas Industry Leadership


In September, Dr. Craig Frear, our Director of Research and Technology was re-elected to a two-year term on the American Biogas Council Board of Directors (ABC), which is the foremost trade association for the biogas industry. You may have missed this big election news because of some other election in 2016. Nonetheless, Dr. Frear ably represented the industry during meetings on Capitol Hill to share the benefits of reclaiming waste streams with members of Congress, and shared trends in project development at the Biocycle REFOR ’16 in Orlando. He was also involved in developing and finalizing an industry ‘digestate standard,’ which is needed to supply greater value for the liquid and solid products evolving from the digestion process.

Potatoes, Lentils, Hops & Flops 


While most people know Idaho for their potatoes, serious trivia fans would know Idaho is also the largest producer of lentils in the country, is home to the largest hop farms and the birthplace of the man who revolutionized the high jump—Dick Fosbury (The Fosbury Flop). Idaho also happens to be home to North America’s largest dairy digester, which was built and is operated by Regenis, one of four digesters we built in the state, and was also home to a fun-filled employee party this past September. A special congratulations to Brad Weg and his team for winning two Longevity Awards for Regenis from the American Biogas Council in October for over five years of continuous operation at the Dry Creek Dairy and DF-AP #1.

Separating Solids


Regenis teamed up with our friends at Edaleen Dairy to win a $300,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Clean Energy Fund to install a first-of-its-kind dissolved air floatation (DAF) device. When fully installed in early 2017, the DAF will give Edaleen the ability to more efficiently float solid waste to the top of its retention tank, allowing for better solid separation as well as phosphorous and nitrogen removal from the post-digestate, resulting in cleaner water for subsequent field application and the highest standards of protection from agricultural runoff impacting local watersheds. Congratulations to our Eric Powell and Dr. Craig Frear for making the convincing case to the state in the application process.

Monday Night Football


Our company culture prizes differing opinions and open debate…except when it comes to football where there is only one team to root for…the Seattle Seahawks. Don’t tell the boss, but we all left early one Monday in October to make the two-hour drive down I-5 to Century Link Field to support the Seahawks in a nationally televised Monday night game.  We tried out our own skills outside the stadium before the game and decided we should stick to building digesters. Meanwhile, the Hawks rewarded our attendance with another victory along the way to an expected third Super Bowl appearance in four years. You’ll get no argument from us.

Regenis Wins At REFOR16

Longevity Award From ABCFive of Regenis’ digesters were given accolades  this week at the annual American Biogas Council biogas industry awards for continuous operation. The VanderHaak Dairy in Lynden, WA was cited for operating continuously for over ten years while four of our other projects–Qualco Energy and George DeRuter & Sons Dairy in Washington state, and Dry Creek Dairy and DF-AP#1 in Idaho–were awarded for passing the five year mark for continuous operation.

On hand to receive the award for Regenis was our Director of Research and Technology, Dr. Craig Frear, who was also in Orlando to lead a workshop at the Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling Conference on managing contaminants in organic waste streams.

Doing Good Is What Drives Us

“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.”

Doing good and making the world a better place is what drives our company, and seeing that passion passed on from our employees to the next generation is the reward, which is why we are so proud of Wendell High School senior, Hunter Weg. For his senior project, Hunter created the first Buddy Walk in Magic Valley, Idaho, to raise awareness, acceptance and inclusion for people with Down Syndrome.

Participants with Down Syndrome being recognized at the Buddy Walk.

Participants with Down Syndrome being recognized at the Buddy Walk.

Hunter led a group of about 250 people on a mile walk around the Twin Falls City Park on Saturday, raising about $5,000 for the National Down Syndrome Society. Thanks for inspiring us all, Hunter, and congratulations to Brad and Sarah Weg for raising a young man who is an example of the best in us.

NPR Story On Our Pixley Digester

Central Valley’s NPR affiliate visited the Pixley digester we built for Calgren, and looked at how digesters can help California meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. (article & audio). 

Frear Re-Elected To American Biogas Council Board Of Directors

Regenis' Director of Research and Technology, Dr. Craig Frear

Regenis’ Director of Research and Technology, Dr. Craig Frear

Regenis is proud to announce our Director of Research and Technology, Dr. Craig Frear, has been reelected by his peers to serve another term on the Board of Directors of the biogas industry’s preeminent trade organization, the American Biogas Council (ABC).

ABC represents over 200 companies, governments and research institutions committed to providing more clean energy by capturing harmful greenhouse gasses from decaying organic waste.

Dr. Frear was hired by Regenis in the summer of 2015 from Washington State University (WSU) where he was instrumental in developing one of the nation’s most prolific applied science and engineering programs over the last decade in organic residuals and animal manure treatment for sustainable reuse.

His research has focused on enhancements to anaerobic digestion, biochemical recovery from waste and development of bio-refinery principles for rural and urban communities. He holds five patents (with two pending) including an ammonia stripping system to remove ammonia from wastewater without the use of chemicals.

California’s Dairy Industry Knows How To Cut Its Greenhouse Gasses, But Can It Afford To?

The rumbling of a tank-sized power plant on the Van Warmerdam dairy is the sound of relief for a longtime farming family.

It’s a signal that the Van Warmerdams won’t have to change the way they do business much to comply with the looming air quality regulations that aim to slash the carbon footprint of California’s dairy industry.

Their Galt ranch is one of no more than 15 in the state that has a working methane digester, the expensive equipment that turns the greenhouse gas emitted by cow manure into a source of renewable energy.

Read the rest

Digesting California’s Legislative Session

Events bounced around at such a rapid pace in Sacramento the final week of the legislative session, onlookers might have easily mistaken the State Capitol as the home of the World Championships of Ping-Pong. At the center of it all was the debate over extending California’s carbon reduction program, which calls for emissions to be lowered 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 as well as authorizing the state’s cap-and-trade program to price carbon to pay for investments in clean energy, mass transportation alternatives, building retrofits and healthier forests and watersheds to meet the targeted reductions.

Capitol Building in Sacramento

Capitol Building in Sacramento

With a two-thirds vote of the legislature necessary to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program beyond 2020 unlikely, the legislature opted for a piecemeal approach to tackling climate instead, codifying and extending the landmark AB 32 legislation (which had mandated emissions reductions by 2020 to 1990 levels) through 2030. It also passed legislation to direct more Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) money generated by the cap-and-trade program to lower income and rural communities that suffer from the effects of poor air quality, and to give the legislature greater oversight over the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the primary agency tasked with overseeing distribution of money from the GGRF.

 

While recent estimates of the fund show an excess of $2 billion to spend on carbon reduction strategies, poor recent returns from California’s carbon emission auctions amid the uncertainty over the program’s fate post-2020 led the legislature to appropriate only about half the money in 2016. Of those funds, $50 million was appropriated for methane reductions from dairy and livestock operations, although $15 million of that is earmarked for the Healthy Soils Program and State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program.

While $35 million is significantly less than the $100 million dairy and biogas supporters were seeking to make a dent in short-lived climate pollutants deemed a priority by CARB, it puts a down payment on the investment in dairy digesters Gov. Brown’s administration believes is necessary if the state is to meet it’s long term climate strategy. The good news is, like in baseball, there’s always next year.

2016 Mid-Year Report

 

Bipartisan Biogas Supporters

Last month, Republicans and Democrats banded together to support the future of family farmers and the environment, introducing H.R. 5489, the Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act, as a way to make it easier for livestock farmers to promote a closed-loop farming cycle by providing a 30 percent investment tax credit (ITC) for qualifying biogas and nutrient recovery systems.

A special thanks goes out to our home state Washington House members Susan DelBene (D) and Dan Newhouse (R) for being one of the 14 members to co-sponsor the bill.

Rep. Susan DelBene

Rep. Dan Newhouse

Around The West In Digester News

Washington
Field Day With Wazoo


Regenis partnered with Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources on June 9th for Field Day at the Edaleen Dairy and Honcoop Farm in Whatcom County to show off the latest in anaerobic digestion and nutrient recovery technologies.

While the history between Regenis and WSU goes back over a decade, the partnership has yielded exciting new advances in the last three years including advanced nutrient recovery approaches to improve farm economics by utilizing all post-digestion solids and making strides towards better public health and living watersheds by removing excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous from the dairy waste stream.

California
Cows and Carbon Credits


California cows, usually known for their laid-back attitude, have been losing their cool lately as on ongoing lawsuit over California’s cap-and-trade program has roiled the carbon auction markets. After several successful sales of carbon allowances, the May 18th auction saw a significant drop in interest, with only about 10 percent of the credits available being sold.

The lawsuit has a direct impact on the ability of California’s legislature and Air Resources Board (CARB) to fund projects—like anaerobic digesters—which successfully reduce carbon emissions. The agency has identified short-lived climate pollutants like methane as key to the state’s strategy to reduce the state’s GHG emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and has targeted methane released from California’s 1.7 million dairy cows as a critical investment.

The legislature adjourned at the end of June after passing its annual budget without having dealt with how or when to divvy up the state’s $2.2 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The body will reconvene in Sacramento August for a short session before adjourning for the year. Meanwhile, the next auction for carbon allowances will occur on August 16th

Oregon
New Opportunities for Clean Energy


In March, Oregon Governor, Kate Brown, signed one of the most far reaching clean energy bills in the nation, requiring utilities in the state to stop generating energy from coal by 2030, while committing the state to get at least 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2040.

Combined with Oregon’s new clean fuels program, SB 1547 could be good news for Oregon biogas producers as the legislation carves out spaces in the energy mix from small scale and rural sources as well as giving digester owners a pathway to the natural gas pipeline. Meanwhile, the legislature also approved funds for a study by the Department of Environmental Quality to demonstrate how a market-based approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions would work in Oregon. The study is due to be presented to the legislature in February.

Regenis On the Road


Like Johnny Cash sang, “we’ve been everywhere, man.” Our travels in search of new ways to clean up water and capture methane in 2016 have been non-stop. Here are just a few:

  • World Ag Expo—Tulare, CA
  • Washington State Lobby Day–Olympia, WA
  • Western United Dairymen Conference—Sonoma, CA
  • Oregon Dairy Industries Conference—Salem, OR
  • Climate Solutions Annual Breakfast—Seattle, WA
  • American Biogas Council Board Meeting—Washington, DC
  • Tillamook Community Digester—Tillamook, OR
  • Biocycle West Coast Conference—SanDiego, CA
  • Choose Whatcom—Bellingham, WA
  • California Biogas Day—Sacramento, CA

If you are interested in having one of our team members speak to your organization about biogas, anaerobic digestion, nutrient recovery, AgTech or sustainable farming practices, contact Michael Grossman at MichaelG@Regenis.net.

 

Bi-partisanship Rules For Biogas

It’s not every week when members of Congress reach across party lines to form a consensus to benefit the American public, but this week Republicans and Democrats, urban and rural banded together to support a circular farm economy, renewable energy, healthy soils and clean waterways.

With the support of 14 members, including our home state Representatives, Susan DelBene (D) and Dan Newhouse (R), H.R. 5489, the Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act, was introduced as a way to make it easier for livestock farmers to promote a closed-loop farming cycle by providing a 30 percent investment tax credit (ITC) for qualifying biogas and nutrient recovery systems.

It’s long been known that capturing harmful pollutants like methane from animal and food organic waste in an anaerobic digester and converting that methane into biogas creates a local source of baseload clean energy and rural jobs. More recently, though, agricultural scientists have been making great strides in recovering nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous from organic waste streams so farmers can apply rich, bacteria-free, post-digestion liquid to their crops while reducing the risk that excess runoff will find its way into watersheds and harm aquatic life. These recovered bio fertilizers can be used as an alternative to expensive, imported chemical fertilizers, making the economics of farming more profitable as well as more sustainable.

Currently, no tax incentive exists for nutrient recovery systems, and only biogas projects that generate electricity are eligible for a production tax credit under Section 45 of the federal tax code. Other energy uses like production of pipeline quality natural gas and compressed renewable natural gas vehicle fuel are omitted, which is a major reason there are only slightly more than 247 anaerobic digesters on farms in the United States (most are dairy digesters) out of 8,241 dairy, poultry and swine farms that could utilize the technology, according to the American Biogas Council. Combined with wastewater treatment and landfill gas plants, industry sources say biogas could power 3.5 million American homes and would reduce emissions the equivalent of removing 11 million passenger vehicles from the road.

H.R. 5489 will be taken up for consideration in the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. The Chairman of the Committee, Lamar Smith (R-TX), has given no indication yet whether the bill will receive a hearing.