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  • At UC Davis, the food scraps left behind on the plates of students, staff, and faculty,

  • who eat in the campus dining commons, won't be heading to the dump when it's thrown away.

  • It'll help power the university after being treated at the renewable energy anaerobic

  • digester, or biodigester, which was developed by UC Davis professor Ruihong Zhang, and built by

  • Sacramento-based partner Clean World.

  • Well, in the biodigester we use bacteria to break down and digest food and other waste

  • into biogas. Biogas contains methane, mostly, and can be used for energy generation. This

  • technology is a game-changer, so it has changed the way we manage our solid waste. It will

  • allow us to be more economically and environmentally sustainable.

  • The biogas created in the digester is burned off by state-of-the-art microturbines, which

  • generate electricity that is fed right into the campus grid. Heat generated from that

  • process is also captured and turned into energy.

  • This system was designed to handle up to 50 tons per day, every day, seven days a week,

  • 365 days a year, of food waste which is typical of the kind of food waste you get from grocery

  • stores, or even from your home. We've got about 900 kilowatts of generating capacity

  • here. We're actually taking landfill gas from the landfill, combining it with the gas that

  • we're getting from the digester, and generating about 800 kilowatts of electricity. That's

  • enough to power about 800 homes.

  • So half of the waste is going to be coming from campus sources: the dining commons, the

  • animal facilities such as the dairy and the hog farm, as well as crop residue from the

  • experimental gardens and experimental crops that are around campus, and the brewery and

  • the winery. The other half of the waste is coming from the community. From local retailers

  • that have distribution facilities nearby, as well as from other businesses in the community.

  • The benefits of this project will carry far beyond the campus. Waste from the Sacramento

  • region, normally destined for the landfill, will be turned into clean, renewable energy.

  • I think it's incredible. Because it's going to help us reduce our use of brown energy

  • and reduce our carbon footprint. It also is like a seed we've planted, and already people

  • are looking for more opportunities on campus to capture more of our organic waste streams

  • and to take them out there. So it's really just the beginning I think of what will happen

  • over time.

At UC Davis, the food scraps left behind on the plates of students, staff, and faculty,

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B2 waste campus landfill davis energy food waste

Biodigester Turns Waste into Campus Energy at UC Davis

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    richardwang posted on 2014/04/25
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