Biogas incentives favor factory farms, critics say
Manure digesters are among the best-known ways for feedlots and dairy farms to capture greenhouse gas emissions and, in some cases, sell biomethane as a fuel. The climate, healthcare, and tax law signed this week by President Biden offers a new incentive to the biogas industry at the same time that the environmental credentials of on-farm digesters are being questioned.
The new California gold rush into anaerobic digesters
There's money in manure for California dairy farmers with anaerobic digesters that capture methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from their cattle's manure. Each cow on a farm with a digester can generate $2,827 a year in air pollution and biofuel credits for methane that would otherwise go into the atmosphere, calculated Aaron Smith, a professor at UC-Davis.
EPA to investigate North Carolina biogas for discrimination
The Environmental Protection Agency has notified North Carolina civil rights groups that it will investigate whether state regulators discriminated against communities of color when they approved four applications to convert hog waste into fuel. (No paywall)
Cellulosic ethanol plant is retooled for renewable natural gas
Verbio North America says it will more than double the capacity of its plant in central Iowa to produce renewable natural gas from corn stover, and it plans to begin production of corn ethanol in the final months of the year. The facility was the first of three plants in the nation to return to biofuel production after faltering as a producer of cellulosic ethanol, made from grasses, woody plants and crop residue.
California’s organic-waste law set a high bar, but most cities struggle to reach it
In 2016, California passed the nation’s most ambitious restrictions on landfilling food and yard waste, with the aim of slashing the greenhouse gases these organic materials generate when buried. The law mandated turning the waste into compost or biogas, with a goal of cutting landfill disposal by 50 percent, from 2014 levels, by the end of 2020 and 75 percent by 2025. But already, cities have fallen behind on setting up the costly systems for collecting and processing this waste. Starting Jan. 1, 2022, lagging communities could be fined up to $10,000 a day.(No paywall)