100 companies now growing the US biogas industry
Illustrating it is the voice of the biogas and anaerobic digestion industry, the American Biogas Council welcomed its 100th member this week. The ABC is the first and only trade association in the U.S. representing organizations dedicated to maximizing the production and use of biogas from organic waste. Municipalities, digester designers, multinational engine manufacturers, farmers, natural gas providers, waste management companies, engineering and law firms, nonprofits and universities are just part of the diverse group of organizations that represent the ABC membership and the U.S. biogas industry.
“America is waking up to the potential of biogas as a tool for job creation, baseload renewable energy generation, stronger family farms, cleaner water and competitive, organic waste management solutions,” said Paul Greene, chairman of the ABC. “We are very pleased that so many companies have stepped up to support our vision for the future of this industry.”
While the biogas industry in Europe is mature, with more than 10,000 biogas-producing digesters in operation, in the U.S., the biogas industry is just beginning to grow. Currently, 167 digesters are operational on farms and 1,500 are making biogas at wastewater treatment plants.
“The untapped potential for the U.S. biogas industry is significant. We count 8,200 farms, 2,000 more wastewater plants and countless sources of urban, organic waste that together could produce nearly 70 million megawatt-hours of renewable, baseload electricity using biogas,” said Patrick Serfass, executive director of the ABC. “Not many renewables can produce uninterrupted power like biogas can. If domestic, clean energy is important to U.S. policymakers, biogas must be included.”
Biogas, a renewable gas, is generated by breaking down organic waste in an anaerobic digester. Organic waste for biogas generally falls into three main categories: agricultural waste, like manure; wastewater; and urban waste, like food scraps and yard clippings. Once produced by a digester, biogas can be used to make electricity and with minimal treatment, also used the same way traditional natural gas is for utilities, homes, vehicles and businesses. The digester process also creates useful byproducts such as pathogen-free fertilizer, fluffy bedding that animals love and compost.
“We believe that biogas can play an increasingly important role in U.S. efforts to tap renewable energy resources and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Clay Harrison, the president of Clean Energy Renewable Fuels, the leading provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America and the ABC’s 100th member. “The ABC’s efforts to educate the public and policy makers on biogas potential and promote policies that incentivize the capture and use of biogas fuel are critical to the further expansion of the industry.”