Technical Articles and Reports
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Spatial-Economic Optimization Study of Swine-Waste Derived Biogas Infrastructure Design in North Carolina
This report by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative highlights a comparative modeling analysis considering individual and centralized approaches for meeting North Carolina's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) mandate for swine. It finds that injecting biogas collected from an optimized network of farms into the natural gas pipeline could be a cost-effective approach to meeting the state REPS.
National Market Value of Anaerobic Digester Products (PDF) (119 pp, 2.2 MB)
In February 2013, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy published a research report to identify the production possibilities and market values of the various products of a mature anaerobic digester industry based on large US dairy farms. In addition to the full report, an overview fact sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 379 KB) is available at the U.S. Dairy website.
Feed-in tariff: A policy tool encouraging deployment of renewable electricity technologies
DOE’s, US Energy Information Administration, May 30, 2013
In May 2013, the U.S. Energy Information Administration published an article identifying that recent developments in Virginia put a spotlight on feed-in tariffs (FITs), which are a policy mechanism used to encourage deployment of renewable electricity technologies. FITs are used to a limited extent around the United States, but they are more common internationally. A FIT program typically guarantees that customers who own a FIT-eligible renewable electricity generation facility, such as a roof-top solar photovoltaic system, will receive a set price from their utility for all of the electricity they generate and provide to the grid.
EIA New State Energy Portal Online for Consumers
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) launched a publicly available, comprehensive online view of the U.S. government's national and state energy data and information. The tool is designed to support a range of users, including policy makers, energy analysts, and the general public, who want to locate and compare state energy data and rankings and customize their own maps and charts, using an assortment of interactive tools. Users can view an array of energy facilities and resources, including information about renewable resource potential for wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy. In addition to customizable maps, the portal summarizes each state's ranking of its energy production, consumption, prices, and more.
Wisconsin Strategic Bioenergy Feedstock Assessment (PDF) (79 pp, 1.8 MB), published by the Wisconsin Department of Energy Services and Wisconsin Biomass Initiative in 2012, examines opportunities for biomass projects in Wisconsin and proposes strategies to advance them.
Access to Capital (PDF) (113 pp, 4.1 MB), published by the California Financial Opportunities Roundtable in August 2012, features information to assist in leveraging existing sources of capital in the development of sustainable enterprises in the state of California.
Promoting Washington Biogas: Feasibility Study of the DeRuyter Dairy (PDF) (100 pp, 9.2 MB) is an anaerobic digester case study published in May 2012 that examines how to increase the adoption of biogas projects in the Columbia Basin, with a focus on biogas as transportation fuel and nutrient recovery.
Digestate Utilization in the U.S., written by Ron Alexander in the January 2012 issue of BioCycle, discusses profitable uses of digestate, the liquid or solid material generated after the anaerobic digestion process, such as using the dried solids as bedding and the liquid by-product as fertilizer.
Washington Dairies and Digesters (PDF) (21 pp, 913K), published by the Washington State Department of Agriculture in October 2011, provides a snapshot of six dairies with digesters in the state of Washington. The digester projects profiled in the report are FPE Renewables, George DeRuyter & Sons Dairy, Qualco Energy, Farm Power Rexville, Farm Power Lynden, and Van Dyk-S Holsteins.
Innovate: Manure to Money, written by David Ferris and published in the March/April 2012 issue of Sierra magazine, highlights the successful use of an anaerobic digester at Reinford Farms. Steve Reinford, owner of the dairy farm, has created a successful project in which he accepts food waste to increase the biogas produced by the system, sells digested solids as cow bedding, and earns renewable energy credits.
Harnessing the Power of Biomass Residuals: Opportunities and Challenges for Midwestern Renewable Energy (PDF) (38 pp, 1.6 MB), written by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, examines how the Midwest can utilize its sources of residual biomass, such as manure waste from agriculture, as a new source of energy. Since the Midwest has a large number of dairy farms, the report suggests anaerobic digesters are a great way to eliminate odors and produce energy.
Economic Feasibility of Converting Cow Manure to Electricity: A Case Study of the CVPS Cow Power Program in Vermont (PDF) (13 pp, 479K) is a case study published by Q. Wang, E. Thompson, R. Parsons, G. Rogers, and D. Dunn in the November 2011 issue of Journal of Dairy Science. The case study examines the technical and economic feasibility of Vermont Public Service Corporation's Cow Power program and confirms that programs such as Cow Power are technically feasible, but economic success depends on a variety of policy factors.
Contribution of Anaerobic Digesters to Emissions Mitigation and Electricity Generation Under U.S. Climate Policy (PDF) (8 pp, 856K) is a paper published by David P. M. Zaks, Niven Winchester, Christopher J. Kucharik, Carol C. Barford, Sergey Paltsev, and John M. Reilly in the July 2011 issue of Environmental Science and Technology. They found that by placing an economic value on the climate, energy, and environmental benefits from anaerobic digestion systems, digesters would become competitive at generating electricity in 2025 under a representative U.S. climate stabilization policy and could provide 5.5 percent of U.S. electricity.
Air Issues Associated with Animal Agriculture: A North American Perspective (PDF) (24 pp, 1.6MB) is a paper discussing the air quality issues associated with animal agriculture. It was published by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) in May 2011.
Great Lakes Region Food Industry Biogas Casebook (PDF) (55 pp, 3.5MB) is a March 2011 report by Joe Kramer at the Energy Center of Wisconsin. It is a compilation of case studies about biogas generation at food production facilities in the Great Lakes region.
The Biogas Opportunity in Wisconsin, 2011 Strategic Plan (PDF) (64 pp, 5MB), published by the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative, is a report focusing on the benefits and challenges of biogas production in Wisconsin and the United States that includes recommendations for advancing biogas projects through a number of short- and long-term measures.
Challenges and Opportunities for California's Dairy Economy (PDF) (149 pp, 6.4MB) is a report by Justin Ellerby at the California Center for Cooperative Development that discusses the potential for anaerobic digesters to help California farms comply with environmental regulations and generate higher profits. It was released in winter 2010.
Carbon Prices and the Adoption of Methane Digesters on Dairy and Hog Farms (PDF) (8 pp, 373K) is a brief prepared by USDA's Economic Research Service in February 2011 that discusses how digester profitability might increase with the future distribution of carbon offsets.
Climate Change Policy and the Adoption of Methane Digesters on Livestock Operations (PDF) (47 pp, 1.4MB), a February 2011 report by USDA's Economic Research Service, uses an economic model to show that carbon pricing and offsets could increase methane digester profits.
EPA's Waste to Biogas Mapping Tool is an interactive map designed to facilitate anaerobic digestion in EPA Region 9 (the Pacific Southwest) by connecting organic waste suppliers with potential users.
Manure Use for Fertilizer and for Energy was published in 2009 by Jayson Beckman, James MacDonald, Michael Livingston, Marc Ribaudo, and Wen-yuan Huang at USDA's Economic Research Service. The report was prepared in response to a request from Congress to evaluate the potential competition of animal manure as a fertilizer and use as an energy feedstock.
The Wisconsin Agricultural Biogas Casebook (PDF) (93 pp, 2.6MB), updated by Joe Kramer of the Energy Center of Wisconsin and published in December 2009 by Focus on Energy, describes the history and operations of the 21 Wisconsin farms operating anaerobic digester systems that year.
Anaerobic Digester Technology (PDF) (4 pp, 1.5MB) is an article by William Lazarus from the University of Minnesota that describes digester mechanics and benefits. It was presented at a June 2009 Transition to a Bio Economy Conference in Arkansas.
Biogas Anaerobic Digester Considerations for Swine Farms in North Carolina was written in 2008 by Jay Cheng, Matt Veal, Phil Westerman, and Kelly Zering. The North Carolina Cooperative Extension publication provides an overview of the different types of anaerobic digestion systems and special considerations for swine production in North Carolina.
Anaerobic Digestion of Flushed Dairy Manure (PDF) (5 pp, 323K) is a paper presented by Ann C. Wilkie at the Anaerobic Digester Technology Applications in Animal Agriculture — A National Summit, hosted by the Water Environment Federation in Alexandria, Virginia, in 2003.
Haubenschild Farms Anaerobic Digester (PDF) (39 pp, 706K) is the Minnesota Project's August 2002 final report about the dairy's anaerobic digestion system.
What to Expect When You Clean Out a Plug Flow Digester (PDF) (3 pp, 38K) is a paper by Jiayang Cheng, Kurt F. Roos, and Leland M. Saele published in the Proceedings of the North Carolina State University Animal Waste Management Symposium, Raleigh, North Carolina, January 27-28, 1999.
Langerwerf Dairy Digester Facelift (PDF) (6 pp, 51K) is a paper by Mark A. Moser and Leo Langenwerf that profiles the disassembly of a 400-cow plug flow digester in 1999. The paper documents the internal conditions of the digester and the follow-up work in the subsequent six weeks.
- Extension Center for Agriculture's Introduction to Biogas and Anaerobic Digestion
- Minnesota Project: Biogas/Methane Projects
- New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
- U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)
Schools of Interest
For more information on the research some of these schools are involved in, please check out AgSTAR's Research Web page.
- Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department at Iowa State University
- Agricultural Sustainability Institute at University of California, Davis
- Agricultural Waste Management at Iowa State University
- Animal Sciences Department at Oregon State University
- Animal Waste Management at North Carolina State University
- Biogas and Anaerobic Digestion Program at Penn State University
- Biosystems Engineering Department at the University of Manitoba
- Climate Friendly Farming at Washington State University
- Cooperative Agricultural Research Center at Prairie View A&M University
- Cornell Dairy Environmental Systems Program
- Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University
- Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at North Dakota State University
- Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University
- Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University
- Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
- Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M
- Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Georgia
- Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell
- Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech
- Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at University of Minnesota
- Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at Michigan State University
- Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at Oklahoma State University
- Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University
- Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering at The Ohio State University
- Department of Nutrition, Dietetics & Food Science at Utah State University
- Department of Renewable Energy, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
- Florida Dairy Extension at the University of Florida
- Manure Management and Air Quality at the University of Minnesota
- Soil and Water Science Department at the University of Florida
- Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Stephenville
- Texas Animal Manure Management Issues at Texas A&M University
- The Spatial Sciences Laboratory at Texas A&M University
- University of New Mexico Agricultural Science Center at Clovis
- University of Wisconsin Bio-energy and Bio-economy Team
- Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative at the University of Wisconsin-Madison