January 25, 2011 | General

Anaerobic Digest

BioCycle January 2011, Vol. 52, No. 1, p. 18

San Diego, California
A preconference workshop on April 11, 2011 in San Diego, California – part of the BioCycle Global Conference on Composting, Renewable Energy and Organics Recycling, April 11-14 – focuses on the Business of Anaerobic Digestion. This full-day workshop (8:30 am – 4:30 pm) gets into the nitty-gritty of project financing, power purchase and gas pipeline agreements, permitting and siting, and assuring feedstock supply. In addition to presentations from the financial and legal communities, biogas facility developers will provide insights to their successful completion of “deals,” including the role that government funding, such as tax credits and grants, played in making their projects a reality. Visit for complete agenda and registration information.
Boonville, North Carolina
Duke University and Duke Energy, with financial assistance from the state of North Carolina and federal agencies, broke ground last fall on a pilot system to manage hog waste that can control greenhouse gas emissions, reduce pollutants and generate renewable energy. The project is expected to be fully operational in mid-February 2011. The prototype system is being built at Loyd Ray Farms, a 9,000-head hog finishing facility in Boonville. It is intended to serve as a model for other hog farms seeking to manage waste and develop on-farm renewable power. The $1.08 million system is using mostly off-the-shelf technology, including a lined and covered anaerobic digester and a lined aeration basin. Biogas collected from the digester will be used to run a microturbine to generate 512—639 megawatt-hours of electricity annually. Capturing the methane creates carbon offset credits for Duke University and using it to generate electricity creates renewable energy credits for Duke Energy.
In exchange for hosting the pilot project, farmer Loyd Bryant, who switched from tobacco and beans to hog finishing in 1998, receives the infrastructure at no cost. (He will own the system after 10 years.) Bryant also is expected to benefit from improved liquid waste handling. Raw wastewater from the animal barns will be treated initially in the anaerobic digester, and then routed to the aeration basin for further treatment. The liquids that emerge will be recycled as flush water for the hog houses, forming a closed circuit. Any treated water left over from the system will be stored in the farm’s existing 17-million-gallon open lagoon, and can be used for crop irrigation as waste concentrations are diluted over time.
Surrey, British Columbia
Terasen Gas (Terasen), which serves about 939,000 residential and commercial customers in more than 125 British Columbia communities, has received approval from the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) for a pilot renewable natural gas (RNG) project. Beginning this year, up to 24,000 residential customers will be able to subscribe to the program on a first-come, first-served basis. The equivalent of 10 percent of these customers’ natural gas requirements will be assigned from local renewable energy projects feeding gas into the Terasen network. As part of the initial two-year biogas program, the company also received approval to activate two projects that will upgrade raw biogas into pipeline-quality biomethane to be added to its distribution system. Residential customers subscribing to the program will pay about a $4 monthly premium to replace 10 percent of their natural gas supply with biomethane. Terasen currently expects to make available for purchase about 210,000 gigajoules of biomethane in the first year of the program. “This decision is an important milestone for the energy future of British Columbia,” says Christopher Bush of Catalyst Power Inc., whose project was profiled in last month’s BioCycle (“Centralized Digester Feeds The Pipeline,” December 2010). The BCUC decision allows Terasen to implement agreements with Catalyst Power Inc. and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) to collect biogas from agricultural waste and a landfill site, respectively. Earlier this year, the company received a $200,000 grant from the BC Bioenergy Network to help leverage its investment in the biogas upgrade system at the CSRD site. In 2012, the program is expected to be available to commercial customers throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, and other communities.
Oshkosh, Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh is well into construction of a dry fermentation system to process the campus’ food waste and yard trimmings, as well as some source separated organics from the city of Oshkosh. The 8,000 tons/year project, using the BIOFerm Energy Systems technology, selected a 2G-Cenergy “plug & play” combined heat and power (CHP) cogeneration system. The CHP unit is expected to supply up to 10 percent of the university’s electricity and heat. System start-up is expected this spring.
Other examples of projects using 2G — Cenergy’s CHP units include a 400 kWh system at the West End Community Center in the city of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and an installation at the Maritimo In and Outdoor Water Park in Germany. The latter system generates 681kW/h of energy – 5,652 MW/year – and provides all the thermal energy needed to heat up the facility’s swimming pools while also supplying hot water for guests and for other heating needs as well as electric power for the large water park. The annual savings in energy costs are estimated to be $150,000.
Columbus, Ohio
The state of Ohio awarded $10 million in grants to 11 projects that will use anaerobic digestion to convert feedstocks – such as municipal solid wastes, food and farm wastes and other biomass or waste materials – into electricity, heat, fuel and other biobased products. The program is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s State Energy Program. “These funds give businesses the ability to literally convert waste into economic value,” said Ohio Department of Development Director Lisa Patt-McDaniel. “This program does more than offer businesses an opportunity to grow and prosper: it accelerates Ohio’s position as an advanced energy leader by enhancing energy efficiency.” Projects were selected through a competitive review process based on several criteria including: a match investment of a minimum of 25 percent of total costs, project completion within 12 months and direct economic impact to Ohio by creating and retaining jobs. Projects include ($1 million funding each unless noted):
Comp Dairy Energy – Digester to process 66 wet tons/day (tpd) of manure with 66 wet tons/day (tpd) of fats, oil and grease to generate 4.7 million kWh/yr of electricity and 22,910 MMBtu/yr of thermal heat. Forest City Land Development, LLC (Cleveland) – Digester on former General Motors Fisher Body Plant site will process 88 tpd of mixed biomass to generate >5 million kWh/yr of electricity and 23,200 MMBtu/yr of thermal heat. French Creek BioEnergy, LLC – Digester for City of North Ridgeville’s “French Creek” Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP); feedstocks include about 20 tpd of biosolids from WWTP and 60 tpd of regional biosolids, mixed soaps and food waste to generate 5.5 million kWh/yr of electricity and 13,850 MMBtu/yr of thermal heat. Haviland Co. (Paulding County) – Digester to process 92 tpd of mixed biomass to generate >8.6 million kWh/yr of electricity and 40,600 MMBtu/yr of thermal heat. Hord Livestock, Inc. (Bucyrus) – $500,000 to install on-farm digester and cogeneration system to process about 7.7 million gallons of beef and swine manure and 230,000 gallons of food waste, generating 2.9 million kWh/yr electricity and 21,000 MMBtu/year of thermal heat. Lime Lake Energy, LLC (Norton) – Digester on 200 acres undergoing reclamation that will process about 50 tpd of mixed biomass to generate more than 3.5 million kWh/yr of electricity and 16,800 MMBtu/yr of thermal heat. Northwest BioEnergy (Toledo) – Digester to process 90 tpd of mixed biomass to generate >5.3 million kWh/yr of electricity and 25,900 MMBtu/yr of thermal heat. Sidco-Development, Inc. (St. Clairsville) – Digester to process 90 tpd of mixed biogas to power local limestone mining operations. Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (Grove City) – $500,000 for expansion of gas collection system to capture additional 158,900 MMBtu/yr of landfill gas. Wooster Renewable Energy, LLC – Digester at city WWTP to process 73 tpd of biosolids with 60 tpd of food waste to generate >5.7 million kWh/yr of electricity and 25,230 MMBtu/yr of thermal heat. Zanesville Energy, LLC (Muskingum County) – Integrated digester (liquid and solids) developed with Ohio State University and Quasar Energy Group; will process 84 tpd of mixed biomass.
Washington, DC
Developers of anaerobic digestion projects, including the vendors who supply them, were anxiously awaiting the outcome of the Congressional debate surrounding extension of the “Bush-era” tax cuts. The reason was “Section 1603” of the 2009 American Resource Recovery Act, which provides a 30 percent credit for investment in a qualified advanced energy manufacturing project for the production of renewable energy. Anaerobic digestion projects are a qualified manufacturing facility in Section 1603. “The technology has to be eligible and you need to have a complete system that has been certified by a professional engineer once it has become operational,” says Steve Smith of quasar energy group, an AD project developer and technology supplier based in Cleveland, Ohio that has tapped into the tax credit successfully. “This is a meaningful tool for us. There is no way our company could have moved forward this fast without it.” One caveat with Section 1603 is that the biogas must be used for electricity production versus other end uses such as biomethane for vehicle fuel.
Smith adds that another benefit that went through with the tax cut extension was a 100 percent “bonus depreciation” for any facility put into service between September 8, 2010 and December 31, 2011. “At midnight on January 1, 2012, the depreciation drops to 50 percent. Basically this provision provides a tax deferral.”

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