Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Inspired solutions for the future of agriculture and the environment.
Learn More Program Areas

Sunnyside Dairy Anaerobic Digestion Workshop 2005

February 25, 2005

WSU’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources, in partnership with the Yakima Valley Dairy Federation and Washington State Dairy Federation, hosted a one-day workshop on anaerobic digestion of dairy manure in Sunnyside, Washington. The workshop provided an opportunity for dairy producers and others to learn more about the technical and economic performance of commercially available anaerobic digestion systems, financial assistance and regulatory concerns, and project development and management issues. Three nationally known technology experts presented on their approaches to anaerobic digestion. They are Phil Lusk of Resource Development Associates, Mark Moser of RCM Digesters, and Steve Dvorak of GHD Inc. These experts have more than 50 years experience and nearly 60 operating commercial digester projects around the world. More than 10 stakeholder groups came together to sponsor and plan the workshop. As a result of the workshop, Yakima area dairy producers gained a better understanding of existing anaerobic digestion technology, initiated a feasibility study for an anaerobic digester to liquid natural gas project, and identified key issues they are concerned with as they consider the adoption of an anaerobic digester for their farms.

Workshop Agenda and Materials

Transcript, presentation files and handouts are in PDF format. Audio files are MP3s.

Welcome — Steve George, WSDF; Frank Hendrix, WSU Yakima County Extension; David Granatstein, WSU CSANR

Steve George works on issue management for the Washington State Dairy Federation in the Yakima Valley and was a key partner in pulling together the workshop.

Frank Hendrix is the Livestock Specialist for WSU Extension in Yakima County.

David Granatstein is a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist with WSU’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources.

Technology Provider Forum

Anaerobic Digestion 101 — Phil Lusk, Resource Development Associates, AgriClean LLC

Phil Lusk is the Principal of Resource Development Associates, and has more than 25 years of professional experience in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Among other areas, he has worked in energy R&D policy analysis, demonstration project development, implementation and evaluation, and program management. Specific areas of interest are energy economics, environmental policy and economics, integrated resource planning and utility regulation, global climate change issues and organic residue management, and the relationship between energy use and economic development.

During his professional career, he has organized, directed and coordinated over 90 research and demonstration projects. The majority have been interdisciplinary projects involving interactions between energy security, environmental protection, and economic development. Two projects received the National Award for Innovation from the U.S. Department of Energy. He has a B.A. in Energy and the Environment from the UNC-Chapel Hill, a M.A. in Economics from the University of South Carolina, and an Energy Management Program diploma from Virginia Polytechnic and State University.

Anaerobic Digestion 101 — Mark Moser, RCM Digesters (Biothane)

Mark is one of the founders and President of RCM Digesters. He was trained as an agricultural engineer with special emphasis on livestock manure management. Over the past 21 years Mark has focused on methane production and recovery and nutrient management. He is responsible for development, design and completion of projects including: 30 anaerobic digesters for methane and on-farm electricity and heat production; 30+ farm waste storage and nutrient management plans; consulting services to public and private clients for waste management and/or methane digesters in Armenia, Belize, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, the United States and Taiwan. He has performed consulting tasks for the USEPA, the AgSTAR program, and USDOE on pollution potential from farm waste, farm waste management and potential recovery of energy and fertilizer from farm waste. He has designed portions of several farms including a 500 cow dairy and a 36,000 head swine facility. Other work has included environmental regulatory compliance consulting for farms and industries and expert witness services.

Anaerobic Digestion 101 — Steve Dvorak, GHD Inc.

Steve Dvorak, owner of GHD, Inc., is a UW-Madison engineering graduate and a registered professional engineer in the State of Wisconsin. Steve’s experience in anaerobic digesters began almost 20 years ago with the installation of an anaerobic digester at a food processing company in Green Bay – one of the first ag-related digesters in the state and one that is still currently operating.

GHD, Inc., has been a leader in the environmental industry for the past 14 years, specializing in petroleum and farm related environmental engineering. GHD, located in Chilton, Wisconsin, has successfully designed and installed their patented two-stage mixed plug-flow digester system across the nation. Their anaerobic digesters are cost-effective and require low maintenance. By-products from the digester system include electricity, bedding, heat and liquid fertilizer.

11:15 Technology Panel (open forum Q & A with all morning presenters)

Lusk, Moser, and Dvorak responded to general technology questions from the audience.

Questions you should be asking about AD — Dave Sjoding, WSU Energy

Dave Sjoding is a renewable energy specialist focused primarily on bioenergy with the WSU Energy Program. He moderated the Technology Panel Q&A. He initiated the discussion by handing out a document entitled “AD: Are you asking all the right questions?”.

Project Management, Economics, & Other Issues

Economics of digesters — Phil Lusk

Financial Assistance –Steve Dvorak; Chris Cassidy, USDA Rural Development; Tim Stearns, Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development.

Cassidy directs the Business and Cooperative Programs Division for USDA Rural Development in Washington State. This office is responsible for managing the two key grant programs related to digester projects: the 9006 Energy Title Grants and the Value-Added Grant Program.

Stearns is Senior Energy Policy Specialist responsible for economic development for the Washington Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development’s Energy Policy Division.

Relationship with the utility / interconnect — Mark Moser

WSU Co-Products and AD research efforts — Shulin Chen, WSU Biological Systems Engineering

Dr. Chen is a Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at WSU. His Agri-Environmental and Bioproduct Engineering research group is an emerging leader in anaerobic digestion and bioproduct / processing research. His lab has received nearly $3million in research and development funding for anaerobic digestion. In addition to his bioproduct research, Dr. Chen has significant capabilities in environmental modeling and aquaculture.

Regulatory issues: odor — Les Ornelas, Yakima Regional Clean Air Authority

Ornelas is the air pollution control officer for Yakima County. The Mission of YRCAA is to “Restore and maintain air quality which conforms to applicable air quality standards, with minimal community disruption.”

Other issues: phosphorous and pathogens — Joe Harrison, WSU Nutrient Mgmt. Specialist

Dr. Harrison is the dairy nutrient management specialist for WSU based at the Puyallup Research and Extension Center. He publishes a Washington State Dairy Newsletter, administers the Tri-State Dairy Shortcourse Program, and assists producers with whole farm nutrient and forage management.