Energy from Food Wastes

Jay F. Nelson

Animal waste may become our next source of green energy.

Private corporations in the U.K. have begun investing big bucks to convert leftover food and animal byproducts into a new source of green energy that produces electricity and cuts costs.

Marketplace BBC World Service recently reported that big U.K. chains such as Walmart and Tesco are now actively running some of their stores on electricity converted from leftover foods.

Fish heads, old lamb chops, stale sandwiches, and chicken fat represent just a few of the food waste products whose biogas can be burned to create electricity.

How do you get electricity from stale sandwiches?

Basically speaking, large vats of rotting organic waste ferment in the absence of oxygen in a kind of biogenic bath. Fermentation produces biogases, such as methane, which can be burned to run the machinery that generates green electricity. Anyone who’s kept a compost pile knows that…

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