LYNDEN, Wash. — Anaerobic digestion, a biological process of breaking down organic waste material, and a suite of new tools that add value to the process will be featured during a WSU field day on July 10 near Lynden, Wash. Researchers at Washington State University, working with commercial partners, have transformed an environmental concern in agriculture into an environmental, economic, and social solution.
“The need to simultaneously produce renewable energy and assist growers in meeting nutrient management plans and mitigate air and water quality concerns is driving the development of these technologies,” said Craig Frear, a scientist in WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering and a leader in the effort to expand a system of complementary technologies centered on anaerobic digestion.
At WSU’s Anaerobic Digestion Systems Field Day several dairy operations in Whatcom County that have worked with WSU to develop and test these technologies will open their doors to the public.
The event will showcase nutrient recovery mechanisms that result in useable biofertilizers, solids separation techniques, biogas production as well how to move from testing and demonstration into commercialization of value-added products.
“Biofertilizers that are produced through the nutrient recovery process can be used by farmers as replacements for fossil fuel-based fertilizers. It’s truly a win-win,” Frear said.
Beyond environmental benefits, anaerobic digestion systems present economic development opportunities both for dairy operations as well as local communities. In addition to income for producers and tax revenues, digester systems generate jobs during construction and for maintaining operations.
A new 7.5 minute video, Anaerobic Digestion: Beyond Waste Management, features commercial operators and Frear showing how state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion systems can offer multiple benefits to society. The video is produced by the WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources and is available at http://youtu.be/Ei49Z4oeUtY.
The field day is sponsored by the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources with support from an NRCS Conservation and Innovation Grant, and WSU Ag Research Center Biomass Research.
Further information at http://csanr.wsu.edu/pages/2013ADFieldDay.