ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture has awarded more than $1.7 million in grants for two animal waste management technology projects in Somerset and Anne Arundel counties. The grants are part of the state’s ongoing commitment to manage animal manure, protect natural resources, and pursue renewable energy sources.
“These systems represent a real breakthrough in addressing the challenges that poultry and livestock farmers across Maryland and the country are facing when managing manure resources,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “We are excited to be part of a solution that focuses on providing farmers with alternatives for managing and using manure resulting in a sustainable agriculture industry and a healthy Chesapeake Bay.”
A $1.4 million Animal Waste Technology grant was awarded to Clean Bay Renewables of Maryland to construct and operate a manure-to-energy plant in Somerset County. The plant will generate electricity by processing 80 tons per day of poultry litter as feedstock. The system has the capacity to produce 2 megawatts of electricity per hour. The plant will use a thermophilic anaerobic digester to convert organic matter into biogas (a mix of methane and carbon dioxide) and simpler chemical compounds in an oxygen-free environment. Importantly, the system captures and separates nitrogen and phosphorous contained in the byproduct, creating a marketable product that farmers can use to fertilize their crops, comply with Maryland’s Phosphorus Management Tool regulations, and protect local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay from excess nutrients. The poultry litter feedstock for the plant will be supplied by a Somerset County manure broker. Clean Bay Renewables has received approval to build the manure-to-energy plant from PJM, the utility grid operator serving Maryland, Delaware, Washington, D.C., and 11 other states, and has the support of the Somerset County Economic Development Commission. The state’s $1.4 million grant will supplement $15 million in investments already secured by Clean Bay Renewables.
Veteran Compost of Harford County and O2 Compost of Washington State were awarded a $350,300 grant from the Animal Waste Technology Fund to develop a compost demonstration project and public education/training facility for livestock farmers in Anne Arundel County. The project—which is aimed primarily at horse operations—will demonstrate Aerated Static Pile (ASP) composting technology systems at three levels: small scale (1‐4 horses or livestock equivalents); medium scale: (5‐20 horses); and large scale: (20‐40 horses). All three compost systems will be solar powered to demonstrate off‐grid sustainability. The small and large systems will include storage tanks to retain roof water for use in the composting process. Public education and outreach is a major component of the project and will include formal classes and hands‐on workshops, public tours for students in kindergarten through college, and alliances with government agencies and non-profit environmental organizations. In addition, a Compost Cooperativewebsite will be developed to bring together producers and end users of the finished compost products.
MDA issued a request for proposals in December 2015 and received 13 bids which were reviewed by a five-member technical review subcommittee. The subcommittee represented diverse skill sets and backgrounds, and its members were chosen from the 20-member Advisory Committee for the Animal Waste Technology Fund.
Reauthorized in 2013, the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Animal Waste Technology Fund provides grants to companies that demonstrate innovative technologies on farms and alternative strategies for managing animal manure. These technologies may generate energy from animal manure, reduce on-farm waste streams, or repurpose manure by creating marketable fertilizer and other products and by-products. To date, the program has issued $5.4 million in grants. For more information on additional grant projects, visithttp://mda.maryland.gov/resource_conservation/Pages/innovative_technology.aspxor visit mda.maryland.gov and type “Animal Waste Technology Fund” in the search box.