Potent Feedstock Right Under Our Nose
As a bioenergy media company, it is our goal to stay attune with sectors within the bioenergy industry where development is in its infancy but shows promise for growth and profits. We foresaw and extensively covered the rapid growth of the pellet sector. Today, we are excited to cover the ramping up of the biogas sector and the deployment of numerous large digester projects, like Hometown BioEnergy in LeSueur, MN.
The production of biogas is no different to the generation of other bioenergy product in that accumulating biomass and creating a dense energy product requires considerable effort. Accessing biogenic waste streams is a hindrance for many biogas projects despite the existence of abundant biomass resources. Within the biogas sector, infrastructure exists along with feedstock that could be better utilized for bioenergy production.
The map below shows operating waste water treatment plants (WWTP) in the U.S. where digestion systems were able to be confirmed, as compiled and represented by the colloborative behind Biogasdata.org. The size of the dot indicates the flow of sewage through the plant on a daily basis in million gallons per day (MGD). The color of the dot indicates whether the WWTP sell energy created from the biogas to an outside party or does not sell any energy potentially created from the biogas. Red dots indicate that electricity is either sold to the grid or the biogas is put onto the NG pipeline system. Many of the blue colored plants produce energy but use all of it onsite in running the plant's treatment equipment. Most of the blue colored plants at least flare the biogas before releasing it to the atmosphere, but only 85 of the nearly 1,100 plants produce and sell energy derived from biogas outside parties.
The map highlights the considerable capacity of available feedstock that is not only underutilized but already passing through a digester. The optimization of WWTP to maximize greater biogas production is a field with growing interest and considerable efforts. Biogas developers and technology companies are well aware of the biogas production potential within the U.S. WWTP infrastructure. The map below offers a picture into the future where optimization strategies on individual plants could garner considerable kWhs, MMBtu, and MPG, all derived from society’s sewage.