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The German Biogas Success Story & the Wisconsin Strategic Plan Process October 6, 2011

Gary Radloff   

Biogas Awareness Month •  WBI Summit at Monona Terrace (Madison) on October 6th •  LaCrosse National Alternative Vehicle Day Event on October 9th Honda Motorwerks •  German – American Chamber of Commerce Event Monona Terrace in Madison on October 25th •  BioCycle Conference in Madison on October 31st-Nov.2nd

Biogas Awareness Month •  For more information: •  BioCycle: • biogas_awareness_month.html •  American Biogas Council (ABC) •


Municipal household waste

Organic industrial waste

Manure Residues

Wa ste wa ter

Sewage sludge

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Biogas process

Clean bio fertilizer


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Contaminated bio fertilizer

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Ag ma ricu ch ltur ine al ry I nd u pro stria ces l ses

Energy crops


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What is Biogas? – Inputs  Inputs 

Biological Ac0vity 


Manure Substrates  •  Corn Silage  •  Wheat  •  Grass (hay)  •  Food Waste  •  Others 

Anaerobic Digester 

•  Microbes  •  Heat  •  No oxygen 

Digested Solids 

Biogas (50‐75% Methane) 

What is Biogas? – Outputs and End Uses  Biological Ac0vity 


End Uses

Heat Electricity Combustion

Anaerobic Digester 

Biogas Solids 

Fer0lizer Animal Bedding 

Direct Use Upgrade to Pipeline Quality Transportation Fuel

Germany – The World Leader in Biogas 

Sources: Beyond Biofuels: Renewable Energy Opportunities for US Farmers, Heinrich Böll Stiftung (2010) Biogas: Rethinking the Midwest’s Potential, Peter Taglia (2010)

Three Lessons from Germany 1.  Business Models –  Industry pioneers; co-ownership; partnering with universities, nearby communities, energy utilities

2.  System Scale and Design –  Large vs. small systems; unique system designs

3.  Innovative Inputs and End Uses –  Substrates; additives; uses of heat; pipeline gas

Germany Experience  •  Renewables are now more than 15% of  genera0on. (53% of global PV capacity)  •  More than 80,000 employed in wind industry  •  50,000 employed in PV industry  •  More than 90,000 in biomass industry  •  More than 10,000 in biogas industry  •  More than 250,000 employed in renewables  sector 

Opera0onal On‐Farm Anaerobic Diges0on  Projects 

Source: U.S. EPA AgStar Program, April 2010.  h^p:// 

Wisconsin Biogas Stakeholder Communities

Digester Manufacturers

Environmental Groups

Wisconsin Biogas Strategic Plan


Energy Producers

Energy Distributors

County & State Government

Statewide Biogas Policy

Community Benefits

Market development  of electricity from Biogas plants  

GACC - 2010

Source: German BioEnergy Association (BBE)


Waste Management – Livestock Waste  Problem: 1) Dairy operators spend $48.5 million annually on manure 

management  2) Run‐off of nutrients and pathogens degrades water quality  and poses health risks 

Anaerobic Digesters:  1) Reduce volume of manure through evapora0ve loss  2) Convert nutrients to forms easily absorbed by plants  3) Reduce pathogen loads 

Result: State Savings  1) Reduce strain on aging municipal water facili0es  2) Cleaner water: fewer beach‐day advisories  ‐ State collects $66 million per year from state park revenues  3) Reduce healthcare costs due to food‐ and water‐borne illness 

Livestock Manure Problem: 1) offensive odors reduce local property values and quality of life  2) Manure emits powerful greenhouse gases (CH4 and N2O), and  agricultural fossil fuel use is significant 

Anaerobic Digesters:  1)  Reduce ‘smell‐free’ distances by factor of 4  2)  Reduce GHG emissions from:  ‐  Decomposi0on of animal waste  ‐  Applica0on of synthe0c fer0lizers  ‐  Replacement of fossil fuel combus0on with biogas 

Result: 1) Increase rural property values by $100 million?  2) Current:  2% reduc0on in statewide agricultural GHG emissions  Poten0al:  15 ‐ 50% reduc0on? 

Economic Opportuni0es –   Energy Independence 

Problem: 1) Wisconsin pays $18.6 billion out‐of‐state for energy each yr  2) Dairy industry is struggling  •  •  • 

25% plan to discon0nue opera0on in 5 years  40% struggling to meet basic financial needs  90% have decreased number of paid workers 

Anaerobic Digesters:  1) Produce biogas, a homegrown and versa0le energy source  2) Offer new sources of on‐farm income  •   Bedding, fer0lizer, carbon markets, phosphorus trading credits 

3) S0mulate a new biogas industry, help prevent job loss 

Result: 1)  Off‐set $17 million/yr of coal and natural gas fossil fuels  •   Poten0al:  $185 million of natural gas? 

2) Co‐products sales for ‘~100 head’ farm: $34,000 per year  3) German biogas industry employed 11,000 in 2009 

Wisconsin’s Biogas Strategic Plan  Wisconsin Bioenergy Ini0a0ve  effort to iden0fy short‐term and  long‐term strategies to capture  the biogas opportunity   

•  Graduate student and stakeholder  tour of Germany’s biogas success 

•  Stakeholder forum at UW Madison’s  2010 Bioenergy Summit   •  2011 Strategic Plan released on  3/28/2011‐analysis  •  Educa0on and outreach con0nue in  2011 

Money for Growth or Expenses? • 

In the United States, some 30 percent of all food is taken to the landfill. This is a waste of a great feedstock to power anaerobic digesters and is a waste of landfill space.


Farmers in Wisconsin spend over $48.5 million a year on nutrient management.


Farmer spending on fertilizers and gas could be reduced?


Food Processing: This sector can save over $500,000 a year on municipal wastewater treatment fees.


Food Processing can save money now spend on landfill tipping fees.

•  • 

$18 billion leaving the state to purchase energy Or $185 million of homegrown renewable natural gas? (Note: All manure converted)

A Few Key Findings •  Substantial Economic & Environmental Benefits to the State of Wisconsin •  Size of Farm Should Not Be a Barrier •  Long-Term Cash Flow is Critical Compared to Capital Investment •  Current Power Purchase Agreements and Tax Credits Calls for Greater Collaboration Across the Biogas Energy Value Chain (p. 19-24)

The German Biogas Success Lessons learned: 1.  2.  3.  4. 

Integrative business models Appropriate scale and design Innovative inputs and end uses Social context and values are important

Wisconsin’s needs, assets, challenges, and socio-political environment are unique. What are Wisconsin’s motivations for biogas?

Filling the Gap: 

The Full Benefits of Biogas    •  •  •  • 

Wisconsin‐specific analysis  Describe the benefits of biogas   Quan0fy in economic terms  Focus on benefits for:  1.  Average size dairy (~100 head)  2.  CAFOs (~1000 head)  3.  Food processing plants 

Biogas Substrate Research  Source: Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Dr Michael Bongards  

Why is Germany the world leader in biogas production?




UW‐Madison CHANGE Team  Authors of the student report  •  Steve Plachinski  •  Aleia McCord  •  Jeffrey Starke  •  Mirna Santana  •  Sarah Stefanos 

Acknowledgements •  German hosts  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  – 

Robert Höre  Jurgen Fischer  Bernd Roth  Rolf Weigel  Petra Hess  Klaus Hoppe  Paul Thürwächter  (Biogasanlage Binder  Herbert Binder operator) 

•  Trip Participants -- Amanda Bilek (GPI) –  Ted Petith

•  The CHANGE program –  –  –  – 

Rob Beattie Carmela Diosana Jonathan Patz Gregg Mitman, Nelson Institute Interim Director

Gary Radloff, WBI: 608-890-3449

Integrative Business Model How Can Wisconsin Do This? –  Consider a variety of ownership structures (utilities, companies, etc.) –  Work with researchers (universities, etc.) –  Identify possible partnerships with local community or businesses –  Synergies with other bioenergy resources (ex. ethanol and biogas) Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA (2010)

System Scale and Design How Can Wisconsin Do This? –  Small-scale biogas systems are possible –  Consider a variety of system designs –  Explore new technologies that can lower costs and increase system versatility

Social & Policy Context for Germany’s Biogas Success Social Context / Motivations 1.  Progressive approach to waste 2.  Climate Change 3.  Energy Security

German Policies 1.  Feed-in-Tariff is instrumental 2.  Result of a bottom-up process

Different social context and policy environment in Wisconsin • How is the motivation for biogas different in Wisconsin? • What might Wisconsin’s social and policy environment need to be to grow its biogas industry?

Wisconsin Biogas Strategic Plan Development  

Gary Radloff's 2011 Wisconsin Bioenergy Summit presentation.