Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Anaerobic Digestion of Wastes from Regionally Important Agriculture
Emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), odors, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and particulate matters from dairy manure and wastes generated by dairy, potato, and sugarbeet production systems represent a big challenge in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). These emissions damage air and water quality, negatively impact climate change, and cause health problems in humans, thus restricting sustainability of these regionally and nationally important agriculture commodities. In addition, rising energy prices, tightened regulatory requirements, increasing concern over GHG emissions, and interest in producing renewable energy have led to a greater interest of the AD of wastes from these regionally important agriculture commodities. Further, with increasing concern over GHG emissions and global warming, both the federal government and some commodity organizations
such as the U.S. Dairy have pledged to reduce GHG emissions by 28% and 25% by 2020, respectively. Anaerobic digestion of agricultural wastes is considered by far the most effective technology that reduces GHG emissions, generates renewable energies, promotes better manure nitrogen uses, reduces odor emissions, and contributes to the emerging economic opportunities of carbon-based market systems. Even though AD has many benefits, the use of on-farm AD continues to be low in the PNW. This is due in part to the lack of science-based AD information pertaining specifically to the PNW and insufficient Extension programs connecting the information sources with concerned stakeholders. The goal of this project is to collect preliminary baseline AD data and conduct Extension activities facilitating the adoption of AD to reduce GHG emissions from the PNW regionally important agriculture
commodities. A bench-scale AD test system will be developed for diverse AD tests. Regionally important digester feedstocks will be characterized and their biogas potential will be evaluated. Extension activities will be conducted to facilitate on-farm AD adoption and to assist stakeholders in making better decisions regarding AD and GHG emissions. The expected outcomes include the developed AD test system and AD manual, generated baseline data pertaining to AD of wastes specific to the PNW, and delivered Extension activities. The AD test system will be valuable for future research and Extension activities. The AD manual will help stakeholders make better decisions regarding AD, assist Extension specialists and educators in conducting AD related Extension activities, and popularize knowledge in AD among the general public as well. The generated preliminary data will fill the knowledge gap
in AD of wastes from regionally important agriculture commodities, benefit future anaerobic digester design and operation, and assist commodity groups in making better decisions toward sustainable agriculture. The delivered Extension activities will increase awareness and knowledge of GHG emissions from agricultural wastes among producers, Extension professionals, and the general public.