Vermont Farmers Learn Innovative Ways to Manage Manure

Vermont's Agency of Agriculture, Foods & Markets and Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources – Department of Environmental Conservation teamed up with the U.S. EPA's AgSTAR program today to host the Nutrient Recovery and Digester Summit.  Held in South Burlington at the former IDX complex, the event provides an opportunity for farmers, food waste producers, digester vendors and others to develop partnerships and discuss potential projects.

Feature presentations and panel discussions led by industry leaders included:

  • Nutrient recovery and nutrient management
  • Organics diversion to anaerobic digesters
  • Anaerobic digesters

Attendees also had the opportunity to visit with exhibitors, participate in a digester feasibility forum, and toured the Magic Hat Brewery digester.

A natural process called anaerobic digestion creates biogas. Anaerobic digesters are closed systems that harness this natural process to produce biogas and other useful coproducts. These systems also reduce odors, pathogens and waste.  A Vermont biomass project at Vermont Technical College in Randolph can convert 16,000 gallons of waste to 8,800 kilowatt hours of electricity daily—equivalent to about 200 gallons of heating oil, or the amount of electricity consumed by about 70 houses on a cold day.

Biomass digester at Maxwell’s Farm in Newport.  The engine-generators are housed in the building at the left. To right is the digester, part of which can be seen protruding above the ground. A pipe emerging from the digester carries biogas to the engine, and another pipe can be seen leading to the flare, used to burn the biogas in case the engine is not able to take the biogas.

AgSTAR promotes the use of biogas recovery systems to reduce methane emissions from livestock waste. In addition to producing biogas, anaerobic digestion systems can also help achieve other social, environmental, agricultural and economic benefits.  For more information on the EPA’s AgSTAR program, click here.

For more information about the summit or how the Agency of Agriculture can assist, contact Alex DePillis at (802) 505-3067. 

To see the Vermont Technical College anaerobic biomass digester project, visithttp://agriculture.vermont.gov/node/1365.