Anaerobic Digestion South of the Border

Tue, 2013-11-05 (All day)

The adoption of anaerobic digesters to produce renewable electricity is becoming more and more common in the United States. In part, the success of this technology in the United States is due to the existence of a government program called AgSTAR. Established in 1994, AgSTAR is the result of a collaborative effort between the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Energy.

Designed in part to reduce methane gas emissions from livestock waste management operations, AgSTAR has been very successful in promoting adoption of anaerobic digesters that capture methane gas and convert it into renewable electricity. This success can be seen in the number of on-farm anaerobic digester installations in the United States, which reached 176 in 2011. These anaerobic digesters inject enough renewable electricity onto the local energy grid to power over 130,000 homes!

But wait, there’s more. Let’s not forget about the greenhouse gas emission reductions. AgSTAR’s efforts to promote on-farm anaerobic digesters have seen a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emission from manure storage. In fact, in 2011, approximately 1,200,000 tonnes of CO2e were prevented from entering the atmosphere from manure storage in the United States. That is equivalent to taking 250,000 cars off the road. Not bad, eh?

The question is could a similar effort be made in BC? If so, what would we need to achieve this and who would need to be on board? A program similar to AgSTAR in BC would require collaboration from the BC Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Energy and Mines. While getting these three together will not be easy, results from south of the border show us that the outcomes of such a collaboration can be very impactful for renewable energy production and greenhouse gas emission reductions.

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