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REAP Grants (USDA)

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) administers grants to rural communities that help to foster biomass projects.

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 converted the federal Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program into the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Similar to its predecessor, REAP promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy for agricultural producers and rural small businesses through the use of grants and loan guarantees for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems, and grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance.

About 88% of REAP funding is devoted to competitive grants and loan guarantees for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems. These incentives are available to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase renewable energy systems (including systems that may be used to produce and sell electricity) and to make energy efficiency improvements.

Funding is also available to conduct relevant feasibility studies, with approximately 2% of total funding being available for feasibility studies.

Eligible renewable energy projects include wind, solar, biomass and geothermal; and hydrogen derived from biomass or water using wind, solar or geothermal energy sources.

These grants are limited to 25% of a proposed project’s cost, and a loan guarantee may not exceed $25 million. The combined amount of a grant and loan guarantee must be at least $5,000 (with the grant portion at least $1,500) and may not exceed 75% of the project’s cost.

In general, a minimum of 20% of the funds available for these incentives will be dedicated to grants of $20,000 or less.

Let’s hope that this program continues through future rounds of budget negotiations!

Contact information:

Public Information – RBS
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Rural Business – Cooperative Service
USDA/RBS, Room 5045-S, Mail Stop 3201
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20250-3201
Phone: (202) 690-4730
Fax: (202) 690-4737
Web Site:


Hey, I’m back after a bout with a nasty virus. Sorry for the delay – thanks for your patience!

Will respond to my readers’ questions and get back on board with my reporting here ASAP!

~Cowpatty Patty

Tragic waste!

Foul play was ruled out on Thursday in the deaths of a farm worker and his two sons who ended up buried deep in manure at a 2-million gallon waste pit on a Maryland dairy farm.

What could be worse?

Municipal plant power

Fort Lauderdale City Commission has granted initial approval to Power Green Energy, a start-up company in Florida,  to install an anaerobic digestion system at the city’s waste-water treatment plant.

The plant will generate electricity to feed into Florida Power & Light’s powerlines by mid-2012. The project will generate enough electricity for 1000 homes.

The anaerobic digesters will also upgrade the biosolids remaining to eliminate pathogens, bacteria and viruses.

I hope they are going to use the biosolids for soil enrichment!

For more information:

Kitchen-Waste Biomethane

Here’s an interesting article about building a home-based biogas processor utilizing kitchen wastes to generate energy.

Complete Biogas Handbook

This looks like a good book if you are thinking about building your own biogas generator! The author also offers workshops – check it out!

(And no, I don’t have any affiliation with these folks!)

Acronym Poll: RNG? SNG?

I think we can agree “biomethane” is a long and cumbersome word. It’s not user-friendly.

So I was thrilled to find the acronym “RNG” (Renewable Natural Gas).

Now I find another one:  “SNG” for Sustainable Natural Gas.

They both have a nice ring to them, and they run circles around CNG, if you ask me.

Which one do you like better? If I had to pick,  which one would make a better bumper sticker?

If you have an opinion, please  vote, and I’ll post the results!

~ Cowpatty Patty

Several companies in Thailand have entered a 15-year contract to convert pig farming waste and wastewater into biomethane, to supply natural gas for vehicles (NGV) at two gas stations, beginning in 2012.

Kitti Jivacate, president and CEO of UAC, said the company would purify biogas from dung and wastewater from Mongkol and Sons pig farm in Chiang Mai. The biomethane gas from the droppings will be turned into NGV.

Presently, NGV accounts for 9 per cent of total gasoline and diesel consumption in Thailand.

The capacity of six tons per day could fill 500 compact cars or 40 transportation trucks. This could replace diesel imports of 2.2 million litres per year or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) imports of 1,600 tons.

Similar projects are also being considered for other regions in the country.


The Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp. (CCEMC)  has announced $15 million in new funding for biomethane and biofuel projects in Alberta, Canada. The CCEMC is funded by Alberta’s Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund which was created by the Climate Change and Emissions Management Act. Companies that exceed their emission reduction targets pay into the fund which is used to establish alternative=energy and energy-efficiency programs.

One new program CCEMC is funding is the Slave Lake Pulp Bio-Methanation Project. This will integrate an energy-efficient anaerobic digestion system into the mill’s existing effluent treatment system. This new digestion system will both treat mill effluent and generate biomethane. It will significantly reduce energy, chemical consumption and sludge generation. The biomethane produced will be used to generate electricity and heat for use in the pulping process.

How cool is that!

India: Biomass may meet power needs

Biomass Availability May Meet Power Requirement

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

HARYANA, INDIA – Around 1,019 Mw of power is enough to make Haryana self-reliant and it could be generated from the surplus agricultural and forest biomass available in Haryana. This is borne out by a study conducted by the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (Hareda).

At present, the state is generating 128.11 Mw of power from renewable energy sources, reports Business Standard.

The findings of the study, brought out in a report prepared and published by Hareda, reveal the net surplus biomass available after consumption by way of domestic use and subtraction of sugarcane biomass, is 8,416.47 thousand tonnes which holds the potential of producing 1,019 Mw of power. The maximum potential exists in Sirsa district (131 Mw), followed by Karnal (122 Mw); Kaithal (89 Mw); Kurukshetra (84 Mw); and Fatehabad (78 Mw).

The study has drawn estimates of the total generation of biomass and utilisation and surplus available from different crops in various blocks by using satellite data through the Haryana Space Application Centre, Hisar. The data has been presented in the form of coloured maps.

Releasing the findings of the study, the Haryana Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, said yesterday the use of biomass for generation would not only make the state self-reliant in power but also provide additional income to farmers, and result in employment generation in the rural areas.

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