American Biogas Council announces 2016 biogas industry awardees

By American Biogas Council | October 20, 2016

Oct. 19, at its annual conference, the American Biogas Council announced the winners of its Biogas Industry Awards, presented at a sold out dinner celebration at BioCycle REFOR16. The winners included five biogas systems, one innovation and one individual all recognized for their contributions to the growth of the U.S. biogas industry. In addition, 34 projects received the ABC’s first longevity awards given to biogas systems which have been continuously operating for more than five years.

The award ceremony followed the announcement of 13 projects and innovations which made the ABC’s shortlist, the finalists for the Biogas Industry Awards—all laudable in their own right.

"Not only are these projects great examples for future project development, our winners are breaking new ground for the growing biogas industry,” remarked ABC Chairman Bernie Sheff of ES Engineering Services. "I’m so proud to be awarding the shining stars of the industry and look forward to the next wave of projects that are already following in their footsteps."

Biogas systems turn organic material into soil amendments and renewable natural gas by using anaerobic digestion, a natural, biological process in a sealed tank. There are more than 2,100 operational biogas systems in the U.S. today with the potential for over 11,000 new systems to be built.


1. Agricultural Project of the Year

Real Farm Power
Hadley, Massachusetts

Real Farm Power is a strategic partnership that has scaled digester technology to smaller dairy farms, creating heat, valuable soil amendments, and farm-generated electricity and providing infrastructure to recycle local food waste from Whole Foods supermarkets and Agri-Mark's West Springfield facility. The project provides enough energy to power Cabot's butter production and offsets the emissions from 3,970 cars on the road. Real Farm Power shows that digesters and nutrient management solutions can be scaled down to a 250 head dairy farm in a way that is replicable to other small dairies, but does not need to be an exact imitation. This project took an effective nutrient management approach that previously was only available for large scale, 750-1,000 head farms and made it work on the Barstow’s 250 head dairy farm. ABC Members: Vanguard Renewables, Casella Organics, Dairy Cooperative, Grind2Energy

2. Institutional Project of the Year

UW-Oshkosh Urban Dry Digester
Oshkosh, Wisconsin

This project started six years ago with initial goals to help the UW campus meet sustainability initiatives and bring specific digester technology new to North America to the university’s students and faculty. It serves as an example that community based food and yard waste digesters can exist and flourish. This project also has spurred creation of a Biogas Program at the UW campus which now encompasses three anaerobic digesters and a composting operation for faculty and student research. UW-Oshkosh ensures students are part of every step of the process, giving them firsthand experience to go out and contribute to the future success of the biogas industry. ABC Members: University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, BIOFerm Energy Systems, 2G Energy

3. Merchant Project of the Year

Central Ohio BioEnergy
Columbus, Ohio

The Central Ohio BioEnergy (COBE) project embodies the “merchant” model for anaerobic digesters. Located in urban Columbus, Ohio, the project accepts a base-load of biosolids from the City while working with regional processors to also accept commercial and industrial food waste. Performing consistently since completed in 2010, the COBE plant has a uniquely flexible energy production model. It has both a public renewable CNG fueling station and on-site electricity generation so the COBE plant has the ability to produce electricity and/or CNG based on demand and the market value of the energy and related attributes (RINs and RECs). When the plant has reached its CNG storage capacity, biogas can be used to produce electricity. This model uniquely maximizes the plant’s energy revenue potential. ABC Members: quasar energy group

4. Municipal Project of the Year

Waste Management-LA County Sanitation District’s Food Scrap-Wastewater Biogas System
Orange, California

This operating public-private partnership successfully demonstrates the full-scale co-digestion of urban residential and commercial source separated organics (SSO) at an existing municipal wastewater digester in a way that can be replicated at other water utilities. Food waste is processed at the Waste Management facility in Orange, CA and then the slurry is delivered to the 300 million gallon per day Joint Water Pollution Control Plant (JWPCP) located in Carson, California. This project represents one of the largest co-digestion projects of its kind in the U.S., processing approximately 65-85 tons per day of urban residential and commercial SSO and co-digesting the resultant food slurry (EBS) product with sludge at an existing municipal digester. ABC Members: Waste Management

5. Friend of the ABC

Ruckman Farm
Albany, Missiouri

 This project is the first of a 9-part project that will upgrade Smithfield Hog Production’s manure lagoons into systems that both capture the gas and upgrade it into pipeline quality renewable natural gas (RNG). Once captured, cleaned and compressed, the RNG is injected into the pipeline where it’s sold to local customers and Duke Energy. What makes this project special is the scale and the marriage of a lagoonstyle digester with pipeline quality renewable natural gas. At 115,000 tons per year of swine manure turning into almost 2 million DGEs (diesel-gallon equivalents), this is only the first ninth of the total planned size of this project. If this project can be successfully replicated, it will open up the possibility that many of the country’s uncovered lagoons will begin capturing their methane and using it beneficially, replacing fossil natural gas. ABC Members: Roeslein Alternative Energy

6. Innovation of the Year

Synergy Biogas

CH4 Biogas formed Synergy Biogas and builds, owns and operates the biogas facility at Synergy Dairy that produces renewable energy from manure and substrate. The facility digests manure from  approximately 2,000 milking cows at the dairy and food grade organic waste transported to the site. Biogas from the digester fuels genset with capacity to generate up to 1.4 MW of electricity. The facility reduces greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 10,000 tons of CO2 each year, produces 16,000 yd3 of bedding, and reduces manure odors. In addition, this project has been the site to launch a microalgae project to reduce an environmental concern, solve a disposal problem and lead to an alternative feedstock for fuel for vehicles. ABC Members: CH4 Biogas

7. Biogas Visionary

Norma McDonald, Organic Waste Systems

Norma McDonald has been a tireless supporter of the ABC since its inception and the U.S. biogas industry long before. Among many accolades, Norma has paved the way for ABC’s state policy committee, turned unused wind credits in Iowa into biogas credits, provided analytical horsepower behind the scenes to the Biogas Opportunities Roadmap, and identified an obscure IRS issue that, once fixed, will save project developers hundreds of thousands and in some cases millions of dollars per gas interconnection. Norma, who is also the North American Sales Manager for Organic Waste Systems is a founding member of the ABC, a Director and has volunteered incredible amounts of time as co-chair of many committees and working groups. This year, the ABC recognizes her rare blend of technical and policy knowledge, ability to expose issues that, when fixed, provide significant benefits to the biogas industry and her reputation as a successful group leader who gets jobs done. We are all in a better position to develop new projects thanks to Norma’s vision, persistence and depth of understanding complex biogas-related issues.

8. Longevity Awards Biogas systems that have been continuously operating for 10+ years:

 · Blue Spruce Farm - Bridport, VT · Bos Farm #4 - Fair Oaks, IN · Fair Oaks Dairy - Fair Oaks, IN · FPE Renewables - Lynden, WA · Gordondale Farms - Nelsonville, WI · Holsum Irish Dairy - Hilbert, WI · Hunter Haven Farms - Pearl City, IL

Biogas systems that have been continuously operating for 5+ years: · Aurora Ridge Dairy - Aurora, NY · Bach Digester LLC - Dorchester, WI · Berkshire Cow Power - Richford, VT · Bos Farm #1 & #2 - Fair Oaks, IN · Boxler Dairy - Varysburg, NY · Bridgewater Dairy - Montpelier, OH · Central Ohio BioEnergy (COBE) - Columbus, OH · Central Sands Dairy - Nekoosa, WI · Clover Hill Dairy - Campbellsport, WI · Herrema Dairy - Fair Oaks, IN · Hidden View Dairy - Rensselaer, IN · Holsum Elm Dairy - Chilton, WI · Neighborhood Energy - Newport, VT · Pagel’s Ponderosa - Kewaunee, WI · Qualco Energy Corp. - Monroe, WA · Scenic View Dairy - Fennville, MI · Statz Bros. - Sun Prairie, WI · Sunnyside Farms - Scipio Center, NY · Swiss Valley Farms - Warsaw, NY · DF-AP #1 - Gooding, ID · Dry Creek Dairy - Hansen, ID · George DeRuter & Sons Dairy - Outlook, WA · Gervais Family Farm - Enosburg, VT · Green Mountain Dairy - Sheldon, VT · UW-Oshkosh Urban Dry Digester – Oshkosh, WI · Westminster Energy Group - Westminster, VT · Willow Point Dairy - Ionia, MI