Bioenergy in the USA

Great Potential for Biogas and Waste Recycling

The US is not only the largest food producer worldwide; it also has the highest rate of wasted food per capita. Therefore, new technologies with regard to organic waste recycling have great potential for growth in the United States.

Until now, the biogas extraction market remains mostly untapped. Biogas plants are utilized in agriculture, as well as food processing and water treatment as a means of handling manure or treating sewage water and organic waste that can be converted into energy.

According to industry specialists, there is a strong potential for biogas applications in regions with strict environmental regulations (water, air), high waste disposal costs, as well as high regional electric and gas prices. Experts predict that the food and beverage sector will show the highest demand for biogas technologies.

Important Market Data, Trends, and Developments

  • Biogas plants in the US are mostly used in water treatment facilities (1,241 plants), followed by in facilities that extract gas from landfills (645 plants).
  • 247 biogas plants are operational in the agricultural sector (2016), in contrast to Germany’s 8,005 plants (trend: October 2015).
  • The potential for growth in the individual bioenergy sectors varies greatly by region. In states with high suburban waste and limited landfill capacity, e.g. California, technology for processing food waste is in especially high demand. In other states, the potential for growth is dominated by agriculture, and waste from food processors (e.g. Wisconsin).
  • For German vendors it is especially important to establish reference projects in the US. Cooperation with a local partner is highly recommended.

Economic Factors of Biogas Plants in Industry & Agriculture in the USA

Source: GACC Midwest

Market Opportunities for German Companies

Industry and research analysts view the American market for energy production from organic waste as an emerging market with high growth potential. Due to increasing tipping fees and stricter environmental codes, all areas of waste management (e.g. incineration, landfill gas, composting, and food waste biogas) are expected to see stronger demand for eco-friendly technologies in the coming years.

This includes the following components and technologies:

  • Extraction and reduction technology
  • Separating systems, e.g. diaphragms
  • Measurement and process engineering
  • Solutions for delivery and storage of raw and waste materials
  • Efficient incineration, heating, and drying technology
  • Systems and components to combine heat and power generation from biomass

In a number of these areas German environment engineering companies may have a competitive advantage due to the sheer size of the German market and the advanced technologies used.

Organizations & Links

  • The American Biogas Council is the industrial association for the biogas industry. It represents at least two-thirds of American biogas companies and consists of a broad network of contacts, which can be accessed online.
  • AgSTAR is a program jointly administered by the U.S. EPA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Energy. It provides information services, as well as consulting support for the construction and development of biogas plants connected to livestock production.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy is the energy ministry for the United States. It’s mission is to secure America’s energy supply by developing reliable, affordable, and clean energy sources. It manages an annual budget of 23 billion dollars, which includes numerous incentive programs for renewable energy (DSIRE Database).


Corinna Jess

Director, Consulting Services & Trade Missions


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