Energy Initiative Blogs

From Food Waste to Fuel

by User Not Found | Apr 20, 2015

"The United States alone wastes 40% of all food, worth an estimated $165 billion."

If these numbers don't scare you, I don't know what will. It is incredible to know that there are people out in the world that are starving and this country throws away one fourth of their food. In addition to that, the food waste is placed in landfills where it decays and since no oxygen is present it emits methane which is a stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. 

This caused the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Cincinnati to investigate  alternatives to landfilling organic wastes. CEAS proposed an innovative Smart Cities Project titled, "A Pilot Study to Produce Bioenergy and Fertilizer from UC's Food Waste." This proposal's main objective is to convert waste into gaseous fuels, solid fuels, biodiesel and other products. It was proposed in October 13th 2013 and has been accepted recently on April 16th 2015.

viewThe method in which this food waste will be turned into fuel is through a technology that utilizes anaerobic digestion to turn nutrient-rich organiz materials into fuel (biogas), fertilizer, or soil conditioner, while using way less carbon dioxide of the biogas to grow algae. At the same time, the lipid oils in the algae are also extracted and turned into biodiesel. This awesome process allows researchers to almost use all of the carbon found in food waste in a renewable manner.

view-2This safe production of biofuels provides a sustainable source of liquid, solid gaseous fuels will minimize the use of fossil fuels thus reducing the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases. It will also convert millions of tons of carbon dioxide gas into biofuel.

Kudos to you University of Cincinnati!