Biogas Congressional Briefing: Driving the U.S. Circular Economy
Wednesday, March 18
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Room 2168 Rayburn “Gold Room” House Office Building
The U.S. manufacturing sector takes resources and turns them into valuable products, but unfortunately does a poor job of managing the resulting waste. In the face of the climate crisis and other sustainability concerns, it is imperative that a more circular economy replaces the “take, make, waste” model with a model focused on re-purposing, reusing, and recycling waste byproducts. Biogas systems are a prime example of the circular economy in action, which is why the American Biogas Council (ABC), in partnership with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), is excited to invite you to a briefing sponsored by bio-economy advocate, Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA) about the critical role biogas.
Biogas systems are a prime example of the circular economy in action. Imagine a dairy farm that produces milk and manure. The manure and wastewater from making milk products can be recycled in a biogas system. The biogas system produces a variety of products used by the farm and the process restarts. From the manure and wastewater, a biogas system might produce: 1) electricity to run the farm and milking operation, 2) heat to keep the dairy barn and anaerobic digesters warm, 3) fuel for the vehicles that deliver the milk, 4) soil products to grow more animal feed and 5) bedding for the barns (comfortable cows make more milk!). This is just one example of the circular economy at work. Biogas systems also recycle agriculture residues, food scraps, manure, and municipal sewage—all kinds of organic material.
Briefing attendees will hear a variety of stories on how the biogas industry is supporting our circular economy by recycling materials into useful products, plus learn about the economic opportunities and challenges limiting growth of this important industry.
How much organic material needs to be recycled? The United States generates more than 70 million tons of food waste each year, 31 billion gallons of wastewater every day and manure from 8 billion cows, chickens, turkeys, and pigs. Biogas facilities can turn these materials into resources, creating local jobs and reducing pollution. Today, the United States has more than 2,200 operational biogas systems in all 50 states. But we have the potential to build more than 14,000 new systems. Doing so would generate more than $40 billion in new investment and enough energy to power 7.5 million homes, reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of taking 15.4 million cars off the road, and create about 335,000 temporary construction jobs and 23,000 full-time operational positions.
Biogas systems turn a waste management issue into a revenue opportunity for America’s farms, livestock producers, food processing, and wastewater treatment industries, and help make our economy sustainable and circular.