BTC receives grant for renewable energy training

Bellingham Technical College (BTC) was recently awarded $299,387 by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to develop a training program for technicians to operate, repair, and maintain anaerobic digester units.

Anaerobic digester technology is emerging in the dairy industry as a resource for renewable energy generation and as a way to help resolve waste management issues. In partnership with Washington State University (WSU) and Andgar Corporation, curriculum and training materials will be designed for an anaerobic digester technician certificate.

“Bellingham Technical College has made sustainability and renewable energy a priority goal across the campus,” BTC President Patricia McKeown said in a press release. “This project and the curriculum it will develop is the first step in an overall plan to green the college’s industrial curriculum with renewable energy technology, knowledge, and skills.”

This two-year project is already underway with professional development for faculty and an industry-based panel to outline the essential knowledge and skills for the curriculum. Small digesters will be developed as training tools on campus.

The project aims to improve the long-term operation of anaerobic digesters, enhance yearly run-times of the digester and engine systems, and create a positive economic impact by supporting rural-based jobs in rural communities.

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