BioCycle REFOR17

The annual BioCycle REFOR conference was held in Portland last week, drawing anaerobic digestion, compost and sustainability partners to the Red Lion Conference Center in Portland OR. The annual event is co-sponsored by BioCycle Magazine and the American Biogas Council (ABC).

Regenis was in full-force at the event, with Eric Powell, Director of Project Development, manning our booth in the Vendor’s Pavilion and Craig Frear, Director of Research and Technology, serving both as panelist to two key events and presenter at two break-out research development sessions.

Because of Regenis’ unique capabilities in designing, constructing, operating and maintaining digester and nutrient recovery systems, Eric had significant interest at the table from existing and future project developers in need of experience with organics as well as renewable natural gas (RNG) projects, which are a viable alternative use for captured methane gas in anaerobic digesters.

Craig, in his capacity as an ABC Board Member, was co-host to roughly 80 pre-conference attendees in a workshop to spearhead cohesion between the fields of anaerobic digestion and composting.

On the final day of the conference, Craig presented data with Tera Lewandowski from Scotts Miracle-Gro on a research and development partnership aimed at utilizing digested dairy fiber in Miracle-Gro formulations. Additionally, Craig presented the latest data co-collected by Washington State University (WSU) and Regenis of the company’s recently installed fine solids separation unit, which recovers 85 percent of the phosphorous in dairy manure wastewater and 40 percent of the nitrogen, giving dairies another tool to create a closed-loop, sustainable farm while generating another stream of revenue through the creation of nutrient-rich organic fertilizers.

REFOR17 had attendees from 37 states and numerous international countries—including a group from Guatemala, who toured some of Regenis’ Washington state installations after the close of the conference. With such enthusiasm to reimagine reusable resources among this year’s gathering, the Regenis team is already looking forward to the 2018 event.

Regenis Installs Fine Solids Separation System In Western Washington

Washington State’s watersheds scored a win this week as agricultural waste company, Regenis, installed the first phosphorous recovery system west of the Cascades at Edaleen Dairy in Lynden.

This fine solids separation system, called a Dissolved Air Floatation (DAF) unit, removes solids in manure wastewater through a system that injects the tank with air bubbles and organic polymer, causing the solids to float to the surface where they can be skimmed off, dewatered, and stored. (more…)

Snohomish County Tribune Profiles Regenis-built Qualco Digester

MONROE — They were pioneers when the sky was falling.
Back in 2008, when the housing and stock markets were crashing, the family farmers at Werkhoven Dairy in Monroe took a huge leap of faith—one that carried them to some nearby land and a project/process that would ultimately help the dairy, the state, the Native American Tulalip tribes, and the environment. Read the rest of the article…

 

Biogas Given Certainty As California Extends Cap-And-Trade Legislation

Last week, California Democrats and Republicans set aside political differences, decisively pushing forward a bill to help fight global climate change.

As part of the bill, more revenue will be available to support methane capture through building anaerobic digesters. Such agricultural projects are key in the bill’s strategy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s prominent dairy industry.

Under Assembly Bill 398,California’s cap-and-trade program is extended for an additional ten years–through 2030. This program, which sells mandatory pollution permits to industries, uses the proceeds to fight climate change on a variety of fronts. Because of California’s enormous agricultural sector, biogas and dairy digester projects will play a big role in these emission reduction efforts.

California Governor, Jerry Brown, signed the bill into law earlier today, joined by former California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This follows a floor vote of two-thirds support from both the State Senate and State Assembly last week, including both the overwhelming majority Democrats in the legislature along with a number of Republicans who represent agriculturally dominant districts in the Central Valley.

Prior to the bill’s passage, funding for all emission reduction strategies beyond 2020 were in doubt, exemplified by the 2016 legislature reducing a proposed $500 million in cap-and-trade appropriation over the next five years for dairy digesters to $35 million with no long term commitment beyond 2017: a fiscal reality given purchases for pollution permits had gone from robust to rare as large polluters and carbon financial markets shied away from their uncertain long term value.

Now, with extension of the cap-and-trade program through 2030 providing certainty for industries and carbon trading markets, an influx of expanded funding for agricultural projects (including anaerobic digesters) from permit proceeds are expected track upwards again.

State agencies have projected a need for 300 dairy digesters by 2030 to meet California’s emissions reduction targets. With the California Department of Farms and Agriculture (CDFA) offering each dairy up to $3 million in grant money to help offset some digester development costs, the 2016 appropriation would have provided funding for about ten digesters. With the 2030 extension, the state can now claim the initial emission reduction targets passed in 2006 under the landmark legislation AB 32 are grounded in reality.

Regenis 2017 Mid-Year Update

Regenis 2017 Mid-Year Update


New Horizons In Nutrient Recovery

One of the more exciting recent developments in on-farm manure and nutrient management is incorporation of fine solids separators (FSS) capable of separating fine solids and their associated nutrients from the wastewater.


When paired with an anaerobic digester, these FSS units allow for 90% of the phosphorous and 35% of the nitrogen from dairy waste to be removed from the slurry in a solid form. Because of the FSS process, dairy farmers can create a new stream of revenue by selling the phosphorous as a bio-fertilizer, or they can more easily transport it to distant fields and more efficiently meet their nutrient management plans.

Only a handful of FSS units have been installed in North America, but that number will increase when Regenis cuts the ribbon on a dissolved air floatation device (DAF), a type of fine solid separators at Edaleen Dairy in Lynden, Washington on July 10th. Regenis and Edaleen Dairy teamed up in successfully writing a grant to the Washington State Department of Commerce RD&D program, which in part allowed for funding and demonstration of this new technology.

“Nutrient recovery is going to be a bigger and bigger deal moving forward,” said Edaleen Dairy’s Mitch Moorlag. “With current and future regulation, things aren’t getting easier for farmers and more tools are needed to help us achieve a higher level of stewardship of the land.”

“With an FSS, I’ll need to buy less land, apply fewer nutrients to my land and not have to truck nutrients anymore. That’s what you call a winning triple bottom line,” Moorlag said.

“Phosphorus is something that farmers need to keep growing crops to feed America so it will always be in demand. I think the biggest future trend will be that new, renewable sources of phosphorus like the ones streamlined by the FSS will become a bigger part of the commercial fertilizer business as people look for more sustainable options,” Moorlag said.  

Flowing With Operations & Maintenance 


In order to protect the investment in an anaerobic digester, proper operation and maintenance is required. Substrates need to be added and mixed in the right proportions and outflows need to be carefully monitored to increase the amount of biogas, kill pathogens and prevent clogs in the system.

Regenis currently handles the operations and maintenance of seven digesters, and every one of them, whether complete mix or mixed plug flow, is operational with excellent digester (100%) and engine (95%+) runtimes. Our track record has led to other digester owners reaching out to us to help them achieve the same level of optimal performance. In fact, in just the first half of 2017, Regenis was hired to consult on four different upright steel tank mix reactors in the Pacific Northwest under the leadership of our Regional Directors—Brad Weg in Idaho, and Andy Hansen in Washington.

“Our O&M team are really the unsung heroes of the company because they operate without great fanfare, but also because they allow us to expand our breadth of expertise beyond the development and construction phase. Importantly their expertise in O&M allows us not only the ability to identify initial design and build flaws contributing to suboptimal digester performance, but also to correct substrate mixtures and identify potential chemistry and safety problems before they happen, preventing shut downs which could lead to more costly repairs,” said Regenis Vice President, Bryan Van Loo.

Craig At The Capitol


In mid-May, a group of biogas industry leaders including our own Director of Research and Technology, Dr. Craig Frear, was in the nation’s capital to meet with lawmakers and to demonstrate how an endless supply of hot emissions (from cows, not politicians) can be captured and turned into one of America’s cleanest sources of baseload energy—renewable natural gas (RNG).

“While most methane captured from anaerobic digesters is used to generate electricity, it’s becoming more viable to turn that biogas into renewable natural gas, which can be pumped into our existing natural gas infrastructure to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions even further,” Frear said.

That was the takeaway message at the RNG Forum hosted by the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas and the American Biogas Council, which included biogas industry members and government agencies overseeing energy and agricultural policies at the federal level.

Following the conference, Frear–as part of a delegation of Board of Directors of the American Biogas Council—spent two days on Capitol Hill sharing that message with the new administration as well as over 20 members of Congress and their policy staffs as part of a primer on how federal policy is integral to the success of the biogas industry.

“Congress, along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be making some key decisions over the next few months,” Frear said, “and stability is critical for the industry right now.”

Frear cited protecting the already enacted Renewable Fuel Standard from major changes as well as supporting/expanding the biogas pathway for both RNG and electrical vehicles as priorities during the 115th Congress.

“Every fuel molecule and/or electron created in the biogas sector is one less that has to be generated from dirty fossil fuels,” Frear said. “We know this is the future of energy production in the United States, and we want biogas to be recognized as an equally important fuel source because it doesn’t require the sun to shine or the wind to blow to keep the lights on. Additionally, its flexibility to be used as either electricity on the transmission grid or clean natural gas delivered through pipelines translates into greater energy security for our nation.”

HOUSE BILL SPONSORED TO ACCOMPANY AGRICULTURE ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP ACT IN SENATE

More good news unfolded for the biogas industry in Washington, D.C. last week as the House of Representatives’ answered the Senate’s Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act with a new companion bill (H.R.2853) to help streamline passage.

Just like the Senate bill (S.988), the House bill would extend much-needed Investment Tax Credits (ITC’s) to biogas businesses and technologies through 2021. Of note: verbiage in the House bill is essentially the same as in the Senate bill.

Anaerobic digester builders, operators, and manure resource recovery initiatives could all apply. If passed, the bills together would provide a 30% tax credit for those biogas endeavors that qualify, aiding them with their upfront capital costs, which are often millions of dollars.

Patrick Serfass, Executive Director of the American Biogas Council (ABC), also expressed his praise. “We thank Congressmen Reed, Kind and the other co-sponsors of this bill for recognizing the far-reaching benefits of sustainable farming where organic material and nutrients should be recycled to create beneficial soil products, baseload renewable energy and jobs,” he said in the ABC’s official press release.

Hand in hand, both bills will together create better incentives for innovators and farmers in pursuit of successful biogas installations. Without these incentives, progress in biogas could very well flounder.

President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation Jim Mulhern added: “By creating incentives to make biogas and manure resource recovery technologies more affordable, the Agricultural Environmental Stewardship Act will encourage more widespread use of manure digesters.

“This benefits society by decreasing nutrient runoff in waterways, decreasing farm odors, and improving water quality.”

Regenis would like to applaud House Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) and Tom Reed (R-NY) for sponsoring the bill, as well as our home state members of Congress, Representatives Susan DelBene (D-WA), and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) for co-sponsoring its introduction. “These bills signify a largely bi-partisan effort and hopeful movement towards cleaner air, cleaner water, and cleaner energy throughout the country from the agricultural world,” said company Vice President, Bryan VanLoo.

How does biogas create clean air, clean water, and clean energy? The ultimate goal of the biogas industry: to create clean, renewable energy from harmful greenhouse gas waste emissions produced by dairy agriculture in the country.

Methane—largely emitted by agricultural cattle and dairy livestock—makes up a hefty helping of greenhouse gases contributing to global climate change today. It is also 84 times more potent in its atmosphere-warming impacts than carbon dioxide (CO₂) according to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

Anaerobic dairy digester biogas technology traps methane, transports it to a facility, and processes it into natural gas renewable energy and fertilizer. Further, these systems assist with the processing of dairy manure—also responsible for methane emissions—into more bioavailable forms for use as agricultural fertilizer.

Nutrients are also more successfully separated from raw manure material in this process, ensuring that a glut of nutrients avoids groundwater or waterways. Buildup of nutrients from overfertilization has been shown to be harmful to local ecosystems, including humans and wildlife alike.