Converting Food Waste To Other Products


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that "a third of all the food produced in the world is never consumed," totaling about 1.3 billion tons of waste a year.

The United States alone wastes 40% of all food, worth an estimated $165 billion. This waste decays in landfills and, without oxygen present, emits methane, which is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Consequently, food waste creates an overwhelming 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually and US greenhouse gas emissions account for 19% of the world's total emissions, second only to China. The proposal to convert food waste into gaseous fuels, solid fuels, biodiesel and other products was accepted and today, the study flourishes under the direction of Keener and McAvoy.


The researchers have since developed a breakthrough synergistic technology that uses anaerobic digestion to turn nutrient-rich organic materials into fuel (biogas), fertilizer, or soil conditioner, while using the carbon dioxide fraction of the biogas to grow algae. Simultaneously, lipid oils in the algae are also extracted and converted to biodiesel. McAvoy explains, "The anaerobic digestion of food waste coupled with algae production seems to be an attractive alternative for not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also for the production of renewable energy."

The safe, effective production of plentiful biofuels provides a sustainable source of liquid, solid and gaseous fuels which will minimize or, hopefully, eliminate the use of fossil fuels. In turn, this will curtail or reduce the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases. The process would also reduce the release the hundreds of millions of tons of methane and convert millions of tons of carbon dioxide gas into biofuel.


Source: phys-org ( by science and technology information center)

Date: april 20/2015