ABC recognizes 55 projects for multi-decade digester operation

By American Biogas Council | June 28, 2022

As renewable energy captures a greater share of U.S. energy and fuel production, the American Biogas Council is proud to recognize several anaerobic digester projects that have been pushing the industry forward in these ambitious efforts. Biogas systems, which use anaerobic digestion to recycle organic material into renewable energy and soil products, can produce 24 hours a day and 365 days a year with 95 percent reliability.

At the 2022 BIOGAS AMERICAS conference in late May, 55 projects were celebrated by ABC for their longevity in operation, with 41 projects recognized for more than 10 years in operation and 14 projects operating for five years or more. DVO, ConAgra, CDM Smith and CH4 Biogas were acknowledged for each having a digester project in operation for more than 10 years. Cumulatively, these 55 systems have provided nearly 700 years of non-stop service.

“Biogas systems give farmers the opportunity to sustainably recycle farm waste into sustainable fertilizer, while also producing a reliable stream of renewable biogas and carbon reduction,” said Patrick Serfass, executive director, ABC. “By recognizing the resilience of these long-time operating anaerobic digesters, we hope more organic waste generators like farms, food manufacturing and wastewater facilities will recognize the multitude of economic, environmental and energy benefits biogas systems offer to them and their communities.”

Industry pioneer and longstanding leader DVO, North America’s largest biogas company, was recognized for 52 projects that have been in operation for at least five years across the U.S. More than half of these projects have been in operation for more than a decade and DVO’s work spans over 40 years. DVO designs and installs its robust and high-performing Two-Stage Linear Vortex™ anaerobic digester systems domestically and internationally.

"We’re honored ABC acknowledged many of our projects this year and appreciate the group’s commitment to highlighting the environmental and societal impact that digesters are making on dairy farms every day," said Stephen Dvorak, president, DVO. "We work together with our partners to help farmers meet and exceed their sustainability and environmental stewardship goals. Turning waste into power has endless benefits for all of us."

Two notable projects that were selected for ABC Longevity Awards include:

● Herrema Dairy, located in Fair Oaks, Indiana, has been reaping the benefits of an installed DVO digester since 2002. Since that time, 10 other farms in the local area have installed or converted to a DVO digester. In 2017, Herrema expanded its DVO digester. Today, DVO’s digesters are turning the manure from more than 40,000 cows in Fair Oaks, along with hog manure, into a renewable energy source.

● Holsum Irish Dairy, in Hilbert, Wisconsin, worked with DVO to install its first digester in the early 2000s. Years later, the owners built a second farm, Holsum Elm Dairy, nearby and installed another DVO digester. Fast forward 20 years, DVO is now back at Irish Dairy and expanding its original digester to create renewable natural gas from its 4,000 cows.

Compared to other renewable energy solutions, which are needed but are intermittent, biogas systems offer reliable and complementary performance to meet a variety of American needs including energy, recycling, environmental protection, and more. Today, the U.S. has 2,300 operating biogas systems in all 50 states. More than 300 of these are located on farms but only about 15 percent of the potential for the biogas industry in the U.S. has been realized.

According to Biogas Opportunities Roadmap jointly released from the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at least 15,000 new systems can still be built, which would help reduce carbon emissions, displace fossil fuels, recycle organic waste and replace synthetic fertilizers with the macro and micronutrients already present in our waste.

On farms in particular, anaerobic digesters create a closed-loop system. They take organic waste, like manure, and produce domestic renewable energy that reduces methane and greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. The renewable energy supports the farm and community, while the digested material reduces odor and fertilizer needs to grow more crops for the animals to eat.