GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT, ADMINISTRATION OFFICALS INITIATE STAGE ONE OF PHOSPHORUS INNOVATION CHALLENGE

27 April 2018

St. Albans, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today announced his Administration has officially opened Stage One of the Vermont Phosphorus Innovation Challenge (VPIC). Stage One is a reverse pitch, calling for proposals of creative, viable approaches to effectively remove phosphorus from manure or other organic waste streams, so that phosphorous can be used as a commodity to create economic development opportunities.

The State of Vermont will assist successful proposals through customized support, incentive funding and future market opportunities. VPIC will be implemented and managed by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets; the Agency of Natural Resources; and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

“The goal is to use a ‘reverse pitch,’ a problem-solving method familiar to technology innovators, to identify entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists and others who have a scalable technique or technology to mitigate the impact of phosphorus before it enters the watershed," said Commerce Secretary Michael Schirling. 

In total, the State will invest more than $1 billion over the next 20 years to reduce phosphorus pollution. This includes current and ongoing efforts to implement conservation measures and best management practices, tailored to lessen phosphorus losses from farms and decrease phosphorus loading from stormwater runoff in developed communities. The VPIC will build upon – not replace – these foundational phosphorus control efforts.

The VPIC will be a valuable tool to address this phosphorus imbalance. With the growth of knowledge encompassing composting, digestion of organic solids, energy capture, and soil chemistry, the State hopes to see a variety of proposals for market-driven or market-supported solutions that can extract phosphorus for recycling and reuse.

“As phosphorus accumulates in the soil, the job asked of our best management practices and conservation measures – to protect water quality – becomes a taller and taller order," stated Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore. "One of the most straightforward ways to correct the imbalance is to repurpose excess phosphorus to form value-added products, such as composts, organic fertilizers and biochar.”

Agriculture, Food & Markets Secretary Anson Tebbetts, added, “I am excited to see what types of innovative solutions we are presented with through the Phosphorus Innovation Challenge to help us build upon the good work that farmers are already doing through conservation practices such as cover cropping and the use of best management practices.” Tebbetts continued, “Creating an economic initiative for phosphorus reuse or recycling would be a win-win for Vermont. We look forward to working alongside Governor Scott and our partners to find the best possible solutions for our state and our communities.”

Timeline and details for interested parties are as follows:

  • On April 27, 2018, an invitation will be issued for proposals to develop a “proof of concept” for processes or technologies that remove phosphorus from manure or other waste streams and make the recovered phosphorus available for beneficial reuse.
  • By May 11, 2018, prospective applicants are encouraged to email their intent to participate in the challenge to terry.smith@vermont.gov. This deadline will not be used to exclude teams but, rather, to assess space and resource requirements for subsequent portions of the process.
  • On May 21, 2018, the Administration will hold a meeting from 1-3 pm at the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) Annex with interested parties to field questions and discuss the challenge. Questions may also be submitted via email to terry.smith@vermont.gov.  The closing date for questions about Stage One will be May 25, 2018.
    • The ANR Annex is located at: 190 Junction Rd, Berlin, VT
  • Stage One proposals must be received, via email, by 5pm on July 6, 2018.
  • Some, or all, of the teams submitting responses to Stage One will be selected to make an in-person presentation to the Evaluation Team in August 2018. The Evaluation Team will be comprised of subject matter experts, scientists, entrepreneurs, and State officials.

For more information on the VPIC, including details and criteria for participation, visit: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/phosphorus_challenge

Please direct any questions regarding the VPIC to terry.smith@vermont.gov or call (802) 828-5667.

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Contact Information

Office of Governor Phil Scott
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609
Phone: 802 828-3333 (TTY: 800 649-6825)
Fax: 802 828-3339

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