Biogas Market Snapshot
What is a biogas system?
Biogas systems use anaerobic digestion to recycle organic waste, turning it into renewable energy (the gas or “biogas”), and valuable soil products (liquid and solids or “digestate”), using a natural, biological process. After simple processing, biogas can also become a renewable substitute for natural gas, used any of the ways conventional natural gas is used. And at the same time, the digested materials—the liquid and solids—can be turned into a wide variety of useful soil products: similar or identical to peat moss, pellets and finished compost. Biogas systems can also recover nutrients, helping to protect waterways from runoff, and prevent over fertilization.
What counts as organic waste? Manure from dairies, sludge filtered from sewage water, municipal solid waste, food waste, yard clippings, crop residues and more.
Operational US Biogas Systems
The U.S. has more than 2,400 sites producing biogas in all 50 states: 473 anaerobic digesters on farms, 1,269 water resource recovery facilities using an anaerobic digester, 102 stand-alone systems that digest food waste, and 566 landfill gas projects. For comparison, Germany has nearly 10,000 operating digesters and some communities are essentially fossil fuel free because of them.
Potential US Biogas Systems
The potential for growth of the U.S. biogas industry is huge. We count more than 15,000 new sites ripe for development today: 8,600 dairy, poultry, and swine farms; 4,000 water resource recovery facilities, 2,000 food scrap-only systems, and utilizing the gas at 470 landfills who are flaring their gas. If fully realized, these new biogas systems could produce 103 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity each year and reduce the emissions equivalent of removing 117 million passenger vehicles from the road. These new biogas systems would also catalyze an estimated $45 billion in capital deployment for construction activity which would result in approximately 374,000 short-term construction jobs to build the new systems and 25,000 permanent jobs to operate them. Indirect impacts along supply chains would be even greater.
Find more detail on biogas in the 50 states here
Sources: American Biogas Council, EPA LMOP 2020, Water Environment Federation “Enabling the Future,” EPA AgSTAR 2023, EPA “Anaerobic Digestion Facilities Processing Food Waste in the United States” January 2021.
Last updated September 2023.