August 19, 2009 | General


BioCycle August 2009, Vol. 50, No. 8, p. 4
BioCycle’s Annual Energy Conference Shifts Into High Gear

THE agenda is set for BioCycle’s 9th Annual Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling, October 19-21, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This year’s program (see pages 8-9) reflects the continuing developments in the farm digestion arena, as well as the rapidly growing interest in using anaerobic digestion (AD) systems to process municipal and commercial source separated organics, especially food waste. One session includes operators of composting facilities that are evaluating AD technologies as a treatment step – and a source of energy to offset facility operation costs.
One of the opening plenary speakers is Amol Deshpande, a partner in a leading clean technology venture capital firm, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers (KPCB). Recently, KPCB invested in Harvest Power, a start-up that builds/owns/operates dry fermentation anaerobic digestion facilities for source separated organic wastes. The company’s installations will typically include composting to further process the organics.
Involvement of venture firms like KPCB in the Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (REFOR) “space” is a significant indicator of the potential of our industry. And what is especially exciting is the integration of existing and emerging technologies to capture the maximum value available in organic waste streams – not just the energy, but the organic matter. Manure digesters are being viewed as community energy facilities, processing multiple substrates to maximize biogas output and provide a waste management alternative to landfilling. Wastewater treatment plants are becoming energy and biofuel production facilities, processing food waste and FOG (fats, oils and grease) in their digesters, and growing and harvesting algae for fuel production. Individuals and companies with many years of solid waste processing experience are applying their knowledge to the integration of AD with composting systems.
As in past years, this year’s BioCycle Energy Conference also tackles the challenges head-on, with presentations on feed-in tariffs and improving power purchase agreements, starting farm digesters in the wake of record low milk prices, turning costly treatment of industrial high-strength wastewater streams into bottom-line profits, and sustainably (and sensibly) generating biofuels from crop residues and renewable cellulosic sources.
On Monday, October 19th in the evening, BioCycle is also hosting a Roundtable discussion on the formation of a Biogas Industry Coalition. There appears to be a need for a centralized clearinghouse to guide industry, government agencies and nonprofit organizations through the maze of regulations, tax and grant incentives, emerging technologies and biogas and biofuels market opportunities and obstacles. We look forward to facilitating this discussion while we have so many talented and knowledgeable people in one place at the same time!
Visit for more information, and to take advantage of our early bird registration offer. We look forward to seeing you in Minneapolis in October. – Nora Goldstein

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