Anaerobic Digestion Policy Analysis: Understanding Perceptions, Knowledge and Implementation

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a growing technology that uses a series of microbial activities to breakdown organic material such as food waste and manure, to produce biogas for renewable energy, digestate for nutrient recycling as fertilizer, and large reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and odors. Currently there are millions of AD systems in China and India, with a vast majority of these systems operating on a small-scale basis, while European nations such as Germany and Italy, have thousands of agricultural- based AD systems, that are large scale and more technologically advanced. Europe with over 17,000 biogas plants has steady increases in AD adoption each year, as more countries are setting sustainability goals that include increasing renewable energy use and reducing GHG emissions. The US however, has less than 300 agricultural-based AD systems and 1500 AD systems at wastewater treatment facilities. An in depth analysis was performed of US policies related to AD adoption and how these policies compare to policies in other countries with higher AD adoption rates. A survey was developed for farmers, policy makers, and extension associates to understand policy effects on AD adoption rates and identify challenges to increasing AD adoption rates in the US. The survey data, along with the AD policy analysis, was used to compare and contrast policies, programs and overall legislative climate between countries and understand the timeline in which policies were administered. While policy is the product of a multitude of variables, including general perceptions, institutional involvement, legal framework, and societal /economic benefits, the survey and subsequent analyses seek to understand how these variables interact. The results of the survey and policy analysis will be presented to detail the general perceptions around AD policies, challenges with AD adoption, operation, and maintenance, and overall perceptions of the AD field in the US.  


Carlton Poindexter, University of Maryland-College Park,  

Lansing, Stephanie (University of Maryland-College Park)


The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2019. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth. Minneapolis, MN. April 22-26, 2019. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.