Bion is a public company (OTC QB: BNET) dedicated to providing sustainable environmental and economic solutions for the livestock industry and investment returns to its shareholders. Bion’s patented and proven technology platform provides comprehensive treatment of livestock waste that largely eliminates its environmental impacts, while simultaneously recovering valuable assets from the waste stream, including renewable energy, nutrients and clean water.
Bion’s direct treatment of livestock waste can provide high-impact and cost-effective improvements to a number of our Nation’s air, water and public health challenges. Bion also delivers improved operational and resource efficiencies that represent a much-needed cleantech solution for the $180 billion meat, egg and dairy industry.
In 1986, Jere Northrop, PhD-biophysics, demonstrated the ability to grow and control large populations of naturally-occurring bacteria that could be used to treat the waste from livestock production facilities using substantially less energy than traditional wastewater treatment methods. While there was no broad mandate at that time to reduce nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) in our waterways, the impacts of excess nutrients were beginning to appear and Bion’s R&D efforts began.
Concurrently, the science and understanding of the causes and effects of excess nutrients was proceeding. Since the Pew Oceans Commission report in 2003 that identified animal feedlots as a “major threat to our oceans”, more than 30 major studies have examined the impacts of nutrients on watersheds and their estuaries, both in the U.S. and globally. In 2010, US EPA established nutrient limits for the Chesapeake Bay that require substantial reductions from the six Bay states and DC. In 2013, US EPA began referring to excess nutrients as “the greatest water quality problem in the U.S.” In August 2014, the following stories made national headlines:
- Washington Post – Large ‘dead zone’ signals more problems for Chesapeake Bay
- CNN – ‘Dead zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico is the size of Connecticut
- NPR (OH) – Toledo Water Ban Persists After New Test Results Cause Concerns
To deal with looming compliance costs in the billions of dollars, many states in the U.S. are developing strategies that address ‘non-point’ sources such as agriculture, the largest unregulated source of nutrients in most watersheds. Nutrient trading programs that allow regulated ‘point’ source polluters to acquire lower-cost reductions from agriculture have now been implemented in 20 states.
Wisconsin recently passed the Clean Waters Healthy Economy Act; legislation has been introduced in Pennsylvania in response to a 2013 bipartisan legislative study that concluded a competitive bidding strategy open to all sources could save the state’s taxpayers up to $1.5 billion annually. The US EPA, USDA, Office of Management and Budget and other federal agencies clearly support such a strategy. Legislation was introduced in U.S. Congress in 2016 to apply the U.S. energy tax credit to nutrient recovery projects.
This is a game-changer
Former Executive Deputy Secretary of Programs
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Bion’s treatment solutions are a combination of biological, mechanical, and thermal processes that are proven in commercial operations and have been accepted by EPA, USDA and other regulatory agencies. Bion’s core biological processes are protected by seven U.S. patents, with two pending, and six international patents, with applications pending in the EU, New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Australia. There is no other known cost-effective technology that provides Bion’s level of treatment of wet livestock waste.
Bion systems can remove and recover nutrients in livestock wastewater at a fraction of the cost of traditional downstream treatment options. And unlike most of our current agricultural practices, Bion’s nutrient reductions can be measured and quantified like a point source. Livestock waste is one of the largest unregulated sources of excess nutrients in most major watersheds; direct treatment represents a large untapped source of low-cost nutrient reductions. Bion’s technology is the only one at this time approved to generate verified nutrient reductions from wet livestock waste – dairy, beef, and swine – that can be used as a qualified offset to EPA nutrient reduction mandates.
Bion has estimated the market for nutrient reductions in the U.S. alone at $8 to $10 billion annually. Additionally, greenhouse gases and ammonia emissions are greatly reduced; and pathogens in the waste stream, which have been linked to food-borne illnesses and antibiotic resistance, are all but eliminated. The livestock industry is under increasing scrutiny for these impacts as well; Bion’s verified system performance can be used to communicate environmental and safety improvements to the consumer in a USDA-certified sustainable brand.
In 2014, Bion began filing patents on its next-generation (3G) technology platform that substantially increases the value of byproducts that are recovered from the waste stream, including renewable energy and a natural nitrogen-rich fertilizer product that Bion believes will be certified for use in organic production. Pilot studies indicate that at sufficient scale, the 3G technology will produce enough value from byproducts that Bion will no longer be dependent on selling nutrient reduction credits to move forward with certain projects. A commercial-scale pilot is planned for the second quarter of 2017.
Production agriculture, environmental necessities and raw economics are coming together like never before. Companies on the cutting edge of these efforts, like Bion, can change the entire way that farming and natural resource management have been done throughout our history.
Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
Realization of livestock production’s environmental issues, coupled with higher energy costs and climate change-related drought, has significantly impacted the industry’s economics as well. Using Bion’s technology, new state-of-the-art production facilities can be permitted and developed in strategic locations that enjoy a dramatically reduced environmental footprint as well as improved resource and operational efficiencies. Existing operations can be retro-fitted to achieve many of the same benefits.
In either a new or existing facility, waste stream assets that have traditionally been wasted or under-utilized – nutrients, energy and water – can be recovered in a stable usable form. New revenue sources can be created through the production of value-added by-products. Bion-enabled facilities will produce clean, safe dairy/meat products that can be branded to appeal to increasing consumer demand for food safety and environmentally-sustainable practices.
As of 2012, there were nine million dairy cows, 80 million beef cattle, 62 million swine and billions of poultry in the U.S. that produce 100 times the waste of our human population…and the livestock waste is spread on our fields untreated. According to a recent report by US EPA, more than 55 percent of the country’s rivers and streams are in poor biological health; the most widespread problem is excessive levels of nutrient pollution. The U.S. livestock industry must reduce its footprint while improving its efficiencies if it is to remain environmentally and economically sustainable in the modern world.
Bion’s technology has been tested and proven in commercial applications for more than 20 years. The technology, coupled with Bion’s unique understanding of this new space and its respect among critical stakeholders, positions the Company to capitalize on changes to our country’s clean water strategies that have already begun and the inevitable changes coming to the livestock industry.
The farming community has long awaited this important opportunity, which allows the financing and installation of new technologies to reduce the amount of nutrients flowing into our Nation’s watersheds. The proposed legislation to implement a competitive bidding process for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is cutting-edge public policy and will lead to improved water management with lower costs to the citizens.
Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Governor of North Dakota
Bion Executive Vice Chairman