Here's a Place to Learn About the Benefits of Biogas as an Energy Source for Your Facility

Clean-water plants have a ready source of renewable fuel. A conference in May offers educational sessions and more on how to put it to use.

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In conversations about clean energy and greenhouse gases, we hear a lot about solar, wind and nuclear, and a lot less about a renewable fuel well known to clean-water operators.

That of course is biogas, a product of anaerobic digestion. It’s a fuel with excellent growth potential as part of the nation’s energy picture. Biogas-to-energy has the added benefit of destroying methane, a potent greenhouse gas that otherwise could escape to the atmosphere.

In terms of biogas utilization, the United States lags far behind Europe, which has some 10,000 operating anaerobic digesters, some of which enable communities to be essentially fossil-fuel free.

The American Biogas Council reports that the U.S. has some 2,200 sites that produce biogas. They include 1,269 water resource recovery facilities with anaerobic digesters — but only 860 use the biogas they produce for heating or power generation. There are also 250 anaerobic digesters on farms, 66 standalone systems that digest food waste, and 652 landfill biogas-to-energy projects.

Room to expand

How big is the potential for growth in biogas? It’s huge, and not just at clean-water plants. The ABC estimates that nearly 3,900 such facilities could support new biogas-to-energy systems. That includes those that produce biogas but are not using it.

In all the ABC counts nearly 15,000 sites ripe for biogas development, including 8,574 dairy, poultry and swine farms; 2,036 food-scrap-only systems; and 415 landfills that now flare their gas. If fully realized, says the ABC, these new biogas systems could produce 103 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity per year while reducing emissions equivalent to removing 117 million passenger vehicles from the road.

In addition, the new systems would spur some $45 billion in capital investment, leading to about 374,000 short-term construction jobs and 25,000 permanent operations jobs. 

A place to learn

If you are interested in biogas-to-energy for your facility, or if you want to enhance the performance for the system you already have, you might consider attending the BIOGAS AMERICAS conference, May 23-26 in Las Vegas.

The ABC touts it as the biggest gathering of the nation’s biogas industry players. It’s a venue for meeting industry professionals, leaders and decision-makers from across the country. It’s focus on expanding the biogas market by offering information, training and networking. 

Attendees will include project developers, equipment suppliers, service providers, operators, investors, utility representatives, policymakers and others with interest the growth of biogas as a valuable resource.

Variety of events

The agenda includes five kinds of events. There will be more than 20 educational sessions covering the full range of issues facing the biogas and renewable natural gas industries. Alongside these sessions there will be an operator school where participants can earn up to 12 professional development hours toward acquiring or maintaining certification.

The conference will also include a biogas marketplace where exhibitors will display their equipment, describe their services and answer attendees’ questions. The Biogas Industry Awards Dinner will recognize the past year’s best projects and innovations. The ABC Golf Open on a desert course will launch the conference, helping attendees get acquainted through friendly competitions. 

Biogas is a fuel of the future. The BIOGAS AMERICAS conference is a chance to discover its potential for your facility, or help you get the most from your biogas-fueled power, heating or cogeneration installation.   


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