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Senate bill aims to incentivize biogas

Published Feb. 26, 2009 | Discuss this article on Facebook
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Buckeye Farm News

A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate last month promotes the development of biogas through tax incentives.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, D, joined a bipartisan group of seven senators in introducing the bill, which seeks to reduce billions of gallons of fossil fuels through renewable energy sources produced from animal waste.

“Farm Bureau is very supportive of developing and building new renewable energy systems that take advantage of agricultural sources. Biogas is one of those important areas of new renewable energy development,” said Adam Sharp, OFBF’s senior director of legislative and regulatory policy.

Brown, the first Ohioan to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in more than 40 years, said the bill puts existing byproducts to productive use. Biogas is produced through technologies such as anaerobic digestion, which can convert animal wastes and other agricultural or organic wastes into at least 50 percent methane. Biogas can be used as is on the farm or as a renewable substitute for natural gas, propane or other fossil fuels.

“Ohio’s strength in agriculture along with its growing renewable energy industry positions us to be a leader in the production of renewable natural gas,” Brown said. “By encouraging its production, we can create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve the environment.”

The bill would encourage greater production of biogas for energy purposes by providing biogas producers with a tax credit of $4.27 for every million British thermal units (mmBtu) of biogas produced.

While the biogas bill is written as a standalone bill, it could easily be put into an energy bill, said Dale Arnold, Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of energy services.

If the United States used half of its waste biomass, biogas could replace about 5 percent of the natural gas currently being used, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by up to 70 million metric tons per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.



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