Biogas, a renewable substitute for natural gas, is generated by the breakdown of organic waste in an anaerobic digester (AD). Urban waste, including wastewater treatment plants, food waste from households and businesses, yard clippings and non-recyclable paper, will create biogas under the right conditions. (Manure from dairies, and sludge from wastewater treatment plants can also be used.) While many facilities in Europe produce biogas exclusively from food scraps, similar facilities in the US are just now being developed. Biogas can be used to generate electricity and with minimal treatment, can be substituted for traditional natural gas in power plants, homes, vehicles and businesses. The AD process also creates useful byproducts like pathogen-free fertilizer, animal bedding and compost.
Food Waste Quick Facts
- Food waste from grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias and homes contains energy and valuable nutrients.
- 14% of all of our trash is food waste--the most of all non-recycled trash. That's over 34 million tons--enough to bury the entire island of Manhattan 6 feet deep in food scraps. If not digested, this waste is typically buried in landfills or incinerated. (Source: http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/organics/food/fd-basic.htm )
- Since high amounts of food waste are generated in high population areas, it is desirable to locate AD facilities close to population centers. During the digestion and production of biogas, the digesters are air tight and emit no odor. Receiving halls and compost bins (parts of the pre- and post- processing) use spaces with biofilters and negatively pressured air which eliminate odors.
- In addition to the food itself, paper food packaging, cardboard boxes, wax paper, dirty paper towels and other non-recyclable paper can also be digested to create energy.
- Digesters do not use incineration and therefore do not produce ash or soot.
- Biogas can be used to make electricity and with minimal treatment, used the same way traditional natural gas is for power plants, homes, vehicles and businesses.
|Food Recovery Hiearchy
How Biogas is Made
|Food Waste Generated in the U.S.
The Biogas Energy Project at UC Davis
Turning Food Waste into Energy at the East Bay Municipal Utility District
Projects Using Food Waste to Make Biogas
Nearly 1,800 sites in the U.S. make biogas. Here are some that use food waste.
|Name [sort]||Location [sort]||Feedstocks||What's nearby||Biogas End Use||Digestate End Use|
|Dufferin Organics Facility||Toronto, ON||Food Waste (Curb-Side P/U)||Fueling city vehicles (planned)||Gardening|
|East Bay Municipal Utility District||Oakland, CA||Wastewater/Restaurant Food Scraps||Industrial Facilities||Electricity|
|Gills Onions||Oxnard, CA||Food Waste (onions)||Heat and electricity|
|New Market Organic Processing Facility||New Market, ON||Food Waste|
|UC-Davis Pilot Plant||Davis, CA||Food Waste/Manure|
|University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh||Oshkosh, WI||Food Waste / Crop Residuals / Lawn Clippings||Campus||Heat and electricity|
|West Lafayette/Purdue||West Lafayette, IN||Wastewater Biosolids / Food Waste / Fats - oils - greases (FOG)|
|Millbrae||Millbrae, CA||Wastewater Biosolids / Fats - oils - greases (FOG)||Electricity|
|Old Dutch Potato Chip Co.||Roseville, MN||Food Waste (potato skins)|
|Huckabay Ridge||Stephenville, TX||Manure (Dairy Cows) / Food Waste (grease and other restaurant waste)||Natural Gas Pipeline|
|Stargest Power LLC||Elk Mound, WI||Manure (dairy cows) / Food Waste (high fat)||Electricity|
|Norswiss Digester LLC||Rice Lake, WI||Manure (dairy cows) / Food Waste (high fat)||Electricity|
|Buckeye Ridge Renewable Power LLC||La Farge, WI||Manure (dairy cows) / Food Waste (high fat)||Electricity|
|Santa Monica WWTF||Santa Monica, CA||Food Waste |