Vermont Phosphorus Innovation Challenge

Thank you for your interest in the Phosphorus Innovation Challenge!

GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT ANNOUNCES VERMONT PHOSPHORUS INNOVATION CHALLENGE FINALISTS

 

Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott today announced over $1 million in state funding awarded to five groups for innovative technologies to separate and extract phosphorus from various waste streams as part of Stage Three of the Vermont Phosphorus Innovation Challenge (VPIC).

“These innovative projects not only enhance our efforts to restore Vermont’s waterways but also promote economic growth and environmental sustainability,” said Governor Scott. “Congratulations to the groups who are moving on, I look forward to seeing your creative solutions develop in the coming months.”

VPIC was announced in February 2018 as an X-Prize style competition to harness creative solutions to address phosphorus pollution in Vermont. VPIC complements ongoing, essential work to install conservation measures and best management practices to reduce phosphorus losses from farms and in stormwater runoff from developed lands. These new technologies aim to make existing protections even more effective.

Of the 27 initial VPIC applicants, six groups were selected for initial funding awards. Beginning in September 2018, awardees engaged in technology prototyping and business case development, honing their technologies for phosphorus recovery and researching the market potential for the extracted nutrients. Over the summer, field visits were made to each group to monitor progress on implementation and to further understand the respective technologies. The final component of Stage Two for VPIC was the submission of a final business report earlier this fall.

These reports included a detailed business plan describing the method, process and costs for full implementation; the proven ability of the technologies to recover phosphorus; the potential revenue streams associated with recovered phosphorus; and an explanation of the suitability of technology or practice to address Vermont’s existing phosphorus challenge. The business plan also described additional available funding and investments outside of state resources to help fully scale implementation of each proposal. Submission of this report qualified participants to move on to Stage Three of the VPIC.

Following a thorough review of the reports, five projects were selected for further development. Each awarded project is unique and proposes an effective and innovative solution to address the phosphorus pollution that impacts water quality statewide.

Vermont Phosphorus Innovation Challenge Finalists

DVO, Inc. and University of Vermont (UVM) – Chilton, WI - $500,000

Anaerobic digesters at dairy farms statewide that will be enhanced for advanced solids control using Dissolved Air Floatation (DAF) processes. These vessels will develop a ‘P-Cake’ product that is high in phosphorus and other nutrients. This product will be handled by a newly formed Vermont company (NEWCO) which will operate a newly opened facility in Vermont that will process, bag and/or bottle this material as a marketable retail product, as well as producing, selling and distributing bulk fertilizer and soil amendment materials.

Click here to view DVO, Inc. and UVM's Stage Three Submission

Eric Roy and Kate Porterfield of UVM with VPIC Stage Two Grow Tests. (VAAFM Photo)

VPIC Stage Two site visit with DVO, UVM, and affiliates to Blue Spruce Farm, located in Bridport, VT. (VAAFM Photo)

 

Green State Biochar – Barton, VT - $135,000

Use of local renewable organic wood waste materials that are processed in an innovative pyrolysis machine developed in Vermont to produce a sequestered carbon product called Biochar. The awarded funds will help construct a larger kiln for the increased capacity to produce biochar. This biochar will be used in several Phosphorus Capture Systems, acting as a filter to efficiently capture the majority of the phosphorus from various types of agricultural runoff and producing valuable soil amendment/fertilizer products called p-enriched biochar for local reuse. Market research and business planning will help to determine the demand for p-enriched biochar.

Click here to view Green State Biochar's Stage Three Submission

Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, Anson Tebbetts and Donna Pion of Green State Biochar examine biochar on a VPIC Stage Two Site visit to Wonder Why Farm located in Cabot, VT. (VAAFM Photo)

Roger Pion of Green State Biochar explains to Chief Agricultural Engineer of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, Rob Achilles, about the biochar filter setup on Butterworks Farm located in Westfield, VT. (VAAFM Photo)

 

Agrilab Technologies Inc. – Enosburg Falls, VT - $320,200

Use of a combination of existing phosphorus (P) recovery technologies, composting and drying equipment to establish a series of hub and spoke sites for P processing infrastructure in Franklin, Addison, Lamoille and Caledonia counties. The first model will set up a composting ‘hub’ in Franklin County and begin with items such as physical working pads, electric and data service, storage and related infrastructure work on several ‘spoke’ farms in Franklin, Lamoille and Caledonia counties. Additionally, Agrilab Technologies will build and utilize a Hot Box 8A-250R, a 20-foot containerized compost aeration and heat recovery (CAHR) unit. The unit may be moved between two or more farms in the initial years of operation and adds to positive aeration and drying capacity of the materials. The infrastructure and pieces of equipment address needs of P separation and concentration, pathogen destruction and volume reduction via composting of manure-based P products, and further stabilization through aerated drying. Market research and business planning will occur to determine the demand for the composted end products.

Click here to view Agrilab Technologies Inc.'s Stage Three Submission

Agrilab Technologies' Compost Heat Wagon, located at VT Natural Ag Products located in Middlebury, VT. (VAAFM Photo)

Steam rising from batches of composted manure solids, wood chips and P concentrate indicates moisture being driven off by heated aeration during prototyping at VT Natural Ag Products located in Middlebury, VT. (Agrilab Technologies Photo)

 

Digested Organics – Ann Arbor, MI - $137,500

Awarded funding for the construction of a mobile ultrafiltration (UF) system to process manure and/or digested manure from about 100 dairy cows. The unit will include a fiber-removal process and small commercial-scale stainless steel UF system to create permeate (also known as tea-water) and concentrate. UF permeate contains very little phosphorus and will remain on the farm for land application while the concentrate rich in phosphorus will be a slurry available to nearby farms and composting operations where it can be converted into higher value products. By being mobile, the unit can move from farm to farm as needed, providing flexibility to use the unit where it is most beneficial, adjust to changing seasonal conditions, and expose more farmers to the technology throughout the state. 

A model size ultrafiltration (UF) System built by Digested Organics for VPIC Stage Two trials located at VT Natural Ag Products located in Middlebury, VT. (VAAFM Photo)

Phosphorus Concentration created through Digested Organics' UF System located at VT Natural Ag Products located in Middlebury, VT. (Agrilab Technologies Photo)

 

UVM, Village of Essex Junction, Chittenden County Solid Waste District and Efficiency VT – Essex Junction, VT - $58,907

Struvite generation systems are employed to remove Phosphorus from waste streams originating from water resource recovery facilities.  The new Pe−Phlo System allows for controlled formation and removal of Struvite and Vivianite outside of the treatment process.  The collected Struvite can be processed as a fertilizer resource outside of the wastewater facility. Pe−Phlo is viable on a small-scale application because it uses an innovative application of pipeline descaling technology as a means of enhancing crystalline Struvite generation and Phosphorus removal. It also uses a proprietary electrical field on the filter that allows for efficient capture of the Struvite crystals generated.  Pe−Phlo enhanced Struvite generation and capture improves the scalability to Vermont-sized water resource recovery facilities and Vermont sized farms.

Click here to view UVM, the Village of Essex Junction, CWSD, and Efficiency VT's Stage Three Submission

Professor Raju Badireddy of UVM explains the process of Struvite collection to ANR Secretary Julie Moore and AAFM Secretary Anson Tebbetts in his lab located on the UVM campus in Burlington, VT. (VAAFM Photo)

Struvite formations can be seen on the walls of a vial during trials conducted by Professor Raju Badireddy at his lab located at UVM in Burlington, VT. (Prof. Badireddy Photo)

VPIC Stage Three Evaluation Team:

  • Jeanette Brown, Manhattan College
  • Jed Davis, Agri-Mark/Cabot Creamery Co-operative
  • Eric Howe, Lake Champlain Basin Program & New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission
  • Tim Kenney, AI Certain
  • Guy Roberts, University of Vermont
  • Greg Huysman, Vermont State Employee Credit Union
  • Ela Chapin, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board
  • Ken Jones, Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development
  • Brett Long, Vermont Department of Economic Development
  • Anson Tebbetts, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
  • Julie Moore, P.E., Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
  • Marli Rupe, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

 

If you would like to receive information about the Phosphorus Innovation Challenge, please contact kaitlin.hayes@vermont.gov 

 


VPIC Stage Two   

Six Proposals Awarded Funding for Stage Two of VPIC:

Recipients of Stage Two Funding through the Vermont Phosphorus Innovation Challenge awarded by Governor Phil Scott.

DVO, Inc. and University of Vermont (UVM) – Chilton, WI – 45,000.00

Thirteen anerobic digester vessels situated statewide will be utilized with enhancements for solids control using Dissolved Air Floatation (DAF) processes and will develop a ‘p-cake’ product that is high in phosphorus for potential nationwide resale that will have a verified and significant value to agriculture.

Click here to view DVO, Inc and UVM's VPIC Proposal

Eric Roy of UVM

Rock Dust Local, LLC – Bridport, VT – $25,000.00

Manufacture, apply, and study mineral and mineralized bio-carbon soil amendments (aka Biochar) deployed in the field to manage solution reactive phosphorus (SRP) and nitrogen loss through broadcast field applications, animal bedding admixtures and in-situ filtration media.

Click here to view Rock Dust Local's VPIC Proposal

Thomas Vanacore of Rock Duck Local, LLC. and Trampas Demers of Shelburne Limestone Corp

Green State Biochar – Barton, VT – $30,000.00

Use of local renewable organic waste materials that are processed in an innovative machine developed in Vermont as a prototype pyrolysis machine that produces a sequestered carbon product called Biochar. This Phosphorus Capture System utilizes this Biochar to act as a filter that efficiently captures the majority of the phosphorus, while producing valuable soil amendment/fertilizer products for local reuse.

Click here to view Green State Biochar's VPIC Proposal

Donna Pion, Roger Pion, and Luke Persons of Green State Biochar

Agrilab Technologies Inc. – Enosburg Falls, VT – $50,000.00

Use of a combination of existing phosphorus (P) recovery technologies, composting and drying equipment, and associated best management practices to demonstrate the technical feasibility of stabilizing and adding value to recovered “p-cake” and similar materials.

Click here to view Agrilab Technologies' VPIC Proposal

Agrilab Technologies uses composting and energy captured from the decomposition process to dry and stabilize phosphorus products

Digested Organics – Ann Arbor, MI – $45,000.00

Use ultrafiltration system on a Vermont dairy farm to remove most of the present phosphorus, suspended solids and pathogens in liquid manure, producing a transparent liquid ideal for field application, known as “UF Permeate” (a.k.a. “tea-water”) and a concentrated fertilizer that is readily transportable, known as “UF Concentrate.”

Click here to view Digested Organics' VPIC Proposal

Digested Organics' 'Majestic UF System'

Village of Essex Junction, Chittenden County Solid Waste District and UVM – Essex Junction, VT – $45,000.00

Use of proprietary pipe descaling technology (PDT) to effectively remove phosphorus in Vermont sized wastewater applications. The technology uses an induced electric field of variable amplitude and frequency that can promote precipitation of crystalline minerals (struvite) without the dangerous and damaging adhesion to pipes, pumps or in tanks. The PDT coupled with electric-filtration cell will be employed to enhance phosphorus capture.

Click here to view the Village of Essex Junction, CWSD, and UVM's VPIC Proposal

Jim Jutras from the Village of Essex Junction and Appala Raju Badireddy from UVM

____________________________________________________________________________________

VPIC Evaluation Team Members: Stage Two

  • Jeanette Brown, Manhattan College
  • John Cohn, IBM Corporation
  • Jed Davis, Agri-Mark/Cabot Creamery Co-operative
  • Max Herzog, Cleveland Water Alliance
  • Eric Howe, Lake Champlain Basin Program & New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission
  • Ken Jones, Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development
  • Tim Kenney, AI Certain
  • Bryan Stubbs, Cleveland Water Alliance
  • Guy Roberts, VAAFM   

Follow this link to see video of the event: 

https://www.facebook.com/vtagencyofag/videos/265275220788418/

Follow this link for more information on Stage Two Funding awards:

https://www.facebook.com/vtagencyofag/posts/10160980246630344

____________________________________________________________________________________

Stage One: State of Vermont Selects 12 Sumbissions out of 27 to Present to VPIC Evaluation Team

To view the list of selected proposals click here

Using this innovative method of identifying solutions to problems or challenges, we hope to identify one or more technologies that could help mitigate the impact of phosphorus in our watershed by ensuring that the right amount of phosphorus is applied to the soil at the right time and in the right place, which will in turn minimize losses to our rivers, lakes, ponds and streams.

The Application Period for Stage One Closed July 6, 2018.

Stage One Proposals were submitted by July 6, 2018. A total of 27 Proposals were submitted, a list of the Proposals and the submitting organizations can be found here:

VPIC STAGE ONE PROPOSAL LIST

Some, or all, of the teams submitting responses to Stage One will be selected to make an in-person presentation to the Evaluation Team on Septmeber 6, 2018. The Evaluation Team will be comprised of subject matter experts, scientists, entrepreneurs, and State officials. VPIC was Initiated On Friday April 27, 2018 by Governor Scott. 


TIMELINE

Timeline and details for interested parties are as follows:

  • On April 27, 2018, an invitation was issued for proposals to develop a “proof of concept” for processes or technologies that remove phosphorus from manure or other waste streams and make the recovered phosphorus available for beneficial reuse.
  • By May 11, 2018, prospective applicants emailed their intent to participate in the challenge.
  • On May 21, 2018, the Administration held a meeting from 1-3 pm at the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) Annex with interested parties to field questions and discuss the challenge. 
  • Stage One proposals were received, via email, by 5pm EST on July 6, 2018.​
  • 12 teams that submitted responses to Stage One were selected to make an in-person presentation to the Evaluation Team on Septmeber 6, 2018. 
  • Six teams were selected to progress to Stage Two of VPIC, notification occured on September 30, 2018.
  • Stage Two concluded on September 30, 2019.
  • VPIC Finalists were notified on November 8, 2019.

VPIC RESOURCES

Click Here for Details on the VPIC: Phosphorous Innovation Challenge Brief

Click here for the VPIC FAQ Document: VPIC- Frequently Asked Question Document  (updated June 27, 2018)

WATCH: Gov. Phil Scott’s Phosphorus Innovation Challenge Press Conference

Contact Information

Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

116 State Street
Montpelier, Vt 05620-2901
802.828.2430

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