Anaerobic Digestion

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One up and coming technological solution to food waste is a process called Anaerobic digestion. The word Anaerobic means ‘in the absence of oxygen’.

Anaerobic digestion is a process in which organic matter such as animal or food waste is broken down to produce bio-gas and bio-fertilizer. This process happens in the absence of oxygen in a sealed, oxygen-free tank called an anaerobic digester.

The biogas naturally created in the sealed tanks is used as a fuel to generate renewable energy such as electricity and heat. What’s left from the process is a nutrient rich bio-fertilizer which is pasteurized to kill pathogens, then stored in covered tanks to be used in place of fossil-fuel derived fertilizers.

Or, in the words of an 8-year-old clean energy enthusiast who was asked the question:

“How does anaerobic digestion turn pizza crusts into power?”

“Anaerobic digestion is awesome! You put stuff, like pizza crusts, banana peels and fish guts – into a warm, airtight box. Then tiny bugs eat up the yummy things like the fats, sugars and starches. Then the bugs burp and fart! And if you capture those burps and farts – it’s biogas –you can use it for electricity, heat or fuel. It’s pretty cool.”

For some cool visuals on this technology, check out these videos: