Governor Phil Scott has 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.