Industrial Utility Efficiency    

WEF and ABC Accelerate Generation of Renewable Energy and Soil Products

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the American Biogas Council (ABC) are partnering to expand the conversion of organic waste into renewable energy and valuable soil products at facilities across the U.S. Today, there are more than 2,200 operating biogas facilities in the U.S. About 1,300 of them are at water-resource recovery facilities, but there are nearly 4,000 water facilities where new biogas systems could be installed.

There is a long history of using biogas as a reliable, renewable fuel source for electricity generation, heat, combined heat and power, and vehicle fuel. WEF’s recent publication, “Accelerating Resource Recovery: Biosolids Innovations and Opportunities,” provides a thorough review of biogas systems in the water sector. ABC launched the new Digestate Certification Program creating a standard method for describing the qualities of digestate, the product generated by anaerobic digestion of organic materials.  

The organizations will continue to work together to promote resource recovery, specifically the use of energy and products produced from biogas systems at water facilities. WEF and ABC reaffirmed these goals by signing a new memorandum of understanding (MOU).

“Energy derived from wastewater and biosolids moves our nation toward a more resilient and sustainable future, and there is tremendous potential for growth in the generation of these renewable resources” said WEF executive director Eileen O’Neill. “WEF is happy to once again formalize our commitment to a broader and deeper working relationship with the American Biogas Council, and we look forward to working with the ABC in promoting opportunities for the beneficial use of biogas and digested residuals.”

“A significant opportunity exists to utilize existing wastewater digester capacity to recycle organic materials, like the billions of pounds of food that Americans waste each year,” said Patrick Serfass, ABC’s executive director. “In the U.S., we could build more than 13,000 new biogas systems. One-third of them can be built at water-resource recovery facilities. These biogas projects will create jobs, investment and choices for generating energy, soil products and waste management. We’re extremely pleased to continue our relationship with the Water Environment Federation under this MOU.”

Specifically, WEF and ABC support: 

  • The beneficial use of biogas, digested materials and biosolids as an economically and environmentally-sound energy and waste management solution for communities. 
  • The use of proven technologies facilitating energy and nutrient recovery. 
  • Encouraging federal and state legislation promoting the use of biogas as a renewable energy source.
  • Proactive communications and public outreach to continue to build a strong base of support for products made from digested materials. 
  • Continued research and sound science, in regards to biosolids management.
  • The development of state and federal regulations.

WEF and ABC believe wastewater treatment plants are actually water-resource recovery facilities producing clean water. Through the use of biogas systems, they can yield renewable energy, recover nutrients (such as phosphorus and nitrogen) and produce valuable, nutrient-rich soil amendments reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers. Biogas systems process organic materials, such as the solids, fats, oils, and grease removed by wastewater treatment in controlled, fully-enclosed, natural biological systems capturing methane to create renewable electricity and fuel. 

 

About WEF

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 33,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. Since 1928, WEF and its members have protected public health and the environment. As a global water sector leader, our mission is to connect water professionals, enrich the expertise of water professionals, increase the awareness of the impact and value of water, and provide a platform for water sector innovation. To learn more, visit www.wef.org.

 

About ABC

The American Biogas Council (ABC) is the only national trade association representing the biogas industry in the U.S. The ABC represents over 200 companies covering the entire biogas supply chain who are dedicated to maximizing the production and use of biogas from organic waste. Find us online at www.AmericanBiogasCouncil.org.