Iowa State University, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 and the University of Iowa have announced an upcoming conference: Anaerobic Digestion on the Farm: Optimizing Environmental and Economic Outcomes for Rural Communities and Beyond.

The conference will be Nov. 6-8, 2023, at the Scheman Building at the Iowa State Center in Ames, Iowa. Anaerobic digestion is the natural process in which microorganisms break down organic materials.

“Anaerobic digestion offers many environmental and economic benefits,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “This conference will bring together government, academic, and private-sector experts, stakeholders, and interested parties to advance understanding of anaerobic digestion and policy implementation.”

“Anaerobic digestion is a proven technology that can create energy value on farms while offering a variety of fertilizer, biomass crop, crop residue, and waste management options,” said Dan Robison, Endowed Dean, ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “It’s a great platform for further R&D and potential near-term adoption. Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is enthusiastic to work with EPA Region 7 and the University of Iowa to develop and expand this potential.”

UI Vice President for Research, Martin Scholtz, said “Innovation in anaerobic digestion is a focus area of the Iowa Wastewater and Waste to Energy Research Program (IWWERP) at the University of Iowa. Diverting waste organics into digesters will mitigate methane emissions and the digital twin approaches developed by Professor Craig Just’s (UI Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering) team will increase efficiency and profitability.”

Peter Dorhout, Iowa State University Vice President for Research, said “Anaerobic digestion is a climate-smart solution that can deliver a powerful combination of positive environmental and economic impacts to the state. This conference is an important public-private collaboration that will help stakeholders explore methods and opportunities for expanding its adoption and use in Iowa and across the nation.”

ISU, EPA and UI also invite stakeholders from a variety of sectors to submit conference presentation proposals via a Call for Abstracts. Information on submitting an abstract is available on the conference webpage via the link below, and abstracts are due July 21.

In addition to presentations, exhibits, panel sessions, and virtual tours of anaerobic digestion facilities, the conference will feature several keynote speakers, including Marcelo Mena-Carrasco and Rudi Roeslein. Additional keynote speakers may be announced in the future.

Marcelo Mena-Carrasco is CEO of the Global Methane Hub, an international alliance for developing and implementing global methane reduction solutions. In 2021, he launched the Global Methane Pledge, with over 110 countries, including the U.S., signing on to reduce methane emissions by more than 30% by 2030. Previously, Mena-Carrasco served as climate change advisor and practice manager for the World Bank, as minister and vice minister for the environment in Chile, and as co-chair for the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.

Rudi Roeslein is founder and CEO of Roeslein & Associates (1990) and sister company Roeslein Alternative Energy (2012). Roeslein and RAE develop and operate renewable energy production facilities that convert agricultural and industrial wastes, along with renewable biomass feedstocks, into renewable natural gas and sustainable co-products.

Additional information is on the Bioeconomy Institute events page.