Agriculture US EPA and USDA fund new program to help livestock farmers install methane biogas recovery

Published on May 4th, 2010 | by Tina Casey


Big Methane Biogas Blowout Planned for U.S. Farmers

May 4th, 2010 by  

US EPA and USDA fund new program to help livestock farmers install methane biogas recoveryThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture are teaming up to help farmers invest in methane biogas recovery, to the tune of $3.9 million over the next five years.  The new funds represent a big push for a rapidly growing trend that enables farmers to reclaim a renewable energy resource, cut their utility costs, and take a big chunk out of their greenhouse gas emissions. The new partnership aims to expand the existing AgStar program for reducing methane emissions, primarily by giving technical assistance and guidance to farmers who might otherwise not have the wherewithal to initiate a biogas recovery system.


If all goes according to plan the new program will see plenty of action.  According to EPA’s count there are only about 150 onsite biogas recovery systems at U.S. livestock operations, but there are about 8,000 farms that would be good candidates for the installations — and that’s to say nothing of the new green jobs being generated in the emerging biogas recovery industry.

Methane Biogas from Livestock

The EPA estimates that if all 8,000 farms had biogas recovery systems, they would produce more than 1500 megawatts of renewable energy, the equivalent of taking 6.5 million cars off the road.  Cutting greenhouse gas emissions is the motivation for the push behind the Agstar program, but since major players like Cargill are involved in livestock biogas recovery, you can bet the bottom line is also a big consideration.  In addition to capturing a valuable fuel, a sustainable biogas recovery system could also have carbon trading value.

Livestock and Waste Disposal

Another attraction of biogas recovery systems is a significant reduction in the cost of waste disposal.  The process yields an inert fertilizer that can be used onsite or sold for offsite use.  This sustainable approach to waste reclamation makes a lot more sense than storing raw animal waste in lagoons or pouring it on open fields — a practice which in one recent case  lead to a jury award of $11 million against a factory farm.

Image: Cows by St0rmz on 
Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.


Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

  • Solar water heater or solar hot water is water heated by the use of solar energy. Solar heating systems are generally composed of solar thermal collectors, a water storage tank or another point of usage, interconnecting pipes and a fluid system to move the heat from the collector to the tank.

  • John

    Expanding focus on CAFO-based anaerobic digesters is a good step to reduce methane emissions and protect local air and water quality. Given the potential to quickly deploy mature technology, though, shouldn’t the agencies be devoting more than a paltry $3.9 million? Providing technical and design support will be helpful, but with credit for capital investment still tight it’s hard to imagine the EPA will meet its objectives with the small funds involved here.

  • Michael Allen

    If I have a dairy farm how can I get the process started?

  • Sounds like a great idea but, as usual, it requires money and time. Hope it works!

Back to Top ↑
  • Advertisements

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Cool Cleantech Events

    Low Voltage Electrification Event, April 25-27. Detroit, Michigan (US)
    Delve deep into the benefits and challenges associated with EV power supply.

    Offshore Wind Market Development USA, May 11-12, Boston, Massachusetts (US)
    Network and establish your business in one of North America’s largest energy industries.

    Energy Storage USA, June 15-16, San Diego, California (US)
    Only event in the United States focused exclusively on the commercialization of storage.

    More details are on: Cleantech Events.

  • Advertisement

  • CleanTechnica Electric Car Report

    Electric Cars Early Adopters First Followers
  • Tesla Model 3 Review by EVANNEX

    Tesla Model 3 Review from EVANNEX
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Video

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Pictures

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model X Review #1 (Video)

    Tesla Model X Review from new owners Zach Shahan
  • Tesla Model X Review #2 (Pictures)

    Tesla Model X Review from Kyle Field
  • Tesla Model S Long-Term Review

    Tesla Model S Long Term Review from Kyle Field
  • Nissan LEAF Long-Term Review

    Nissan LEAF Long Term Review from Cynthia Shahan
  • Interview with Michael Liebreich

    Interview with Michael Liebreich
  • Interview with Akon (Teslas & Solar)

    Interview with Akon Tesla Model S Tesla Model X Solar Power Africa
  • Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany

    Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany
  • Interview with Gro Brundtland

    Gro Brundtland
  • Interview with President of Iceland

    President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
  • Interview with Nick Sampson

    Faraday Future VP Nick Sampson
  • Interview with Dipal Barua

    Dipal Barua 1st ZFEP WInner
  • Interview with Jonathon Porritt

    Jonathon Porritt
  • Interview with Clint Wilder

    Interview with Clint Wilder
  • Interviews with Solar Impulse Pilots

    Bertrand Piccard Andre Borschberg
  • Check out more CleanTechnica Videos.

  • Join The Solar Revolution!

    Edison-solar-energy solar-energy-spill-nice-day
  • Cost of Solar Panels

  • Search the IM Network