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Colorado company livestock waste treatment can save billions on clean-up

Ron Walter looks at Bion Environmental Technologies
Bizworld by Ron Walter

Down in Denver, Colorado, a company treating livestock wastes plans to cash in on the environmental concerns created by livestock poo.

The poop and liquid wastes from livestock in the United States have been calculated at 100 times the volume of wastes from humans in that country.

The country has eight million dairy cows, 80 million beef cattle, 62 million hogs and hundreds of million of poultry – lots of poop there.

The nutrients from livestock operations, particularly from intensive population feedlots, dairy farms, hog farms and poultry production, tend to find their way into run-off, polluting streams, lakes and other water bodies.

The nitrogen and phosphorous wastes spur algae bloom, even creating dead spots in lakes where lack of oxygen prevents organisms from living.

Most of the human waste has been treated to remove the harmful wastes although some municipalities still discharge partially treated or untreated waste into water bodies.

The clean water industry in the United States has grown into a $100 billion annual industry, with much of the money being spent to clean water bodies already polluted by livestock wastes.

Bion Environmental Technologies has developed three generations of a treatment process to eliminate the livestock wastes from so-called factory farms and feeding operations where wastes from large herds are left to run off on the surface.

Using a combination of biological, mechanical and thermal processes Bion transforms the wastes into energy, organic fertilizer, animal feed and water recycled for livestock use.

The treatment removes 95 per cent of nitrogen, cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 90 per cent and eliminates ammonia pollutants.

The company claims the process is cost-effective, especially when compared with billions spent every year on clean up of water bodies The Chesapeake Bay clean-up on the East Coast has a $900 million annual bill.

Lancaster Pennsylvania Krieder Farms dairy farm has had a licensed Bion treatment process since 2013.

The stumbling blocks for Bion appear to be getting an agency or industry to pay for installation of the treatment facilities. Permits are still being processed for approval of the organic fertilizer on cultivated land.

Along the path to develop and approve the process, Bion has lost $123 million, burning through $2 million last year. The company has no revenues; its projects all in pilot program stage.

Debt includes an $8.1 million debenture and a $9.1 million low interest loan.

Commercialization of the Bion process awaits further implementation of United States Department of Agriculture policies on livestock wastes and individual state policies. Waiting for government action can be frustrating at any time, more so in the current U.S. climate where low priority is placed on protection of the environment.

At a recent price of 77 cents US a share, Bion is valued at $22 million. The low share price makes raising much cash for development by sale of new shares difficult.

Being listed on the less regulated over-the-counter market means many investors and most analysts won’t even consider these shares.

While it is an interesting story with huge potential, Bion stock is a gamble with odds worse than a slot machine.

Ron Walter can be reached at 

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