Digester Digest

img_1068.JPGLast week I got to visit the demonstration anaerobic digester in Davis, Calif., run by Onsite Power Systems. As discussed earlier, this process creates energy from food waste.

It’s just across the tracks from U.C. Davis, housed at the university’s Waste Water Treatment Facility, which, nestled between the stables of the Center for Equine Health, has to be the most scenic such plant in the nation.  

The digester wasn’t operating–it hasn’t in months–but I got the gist as Onsite’s Chief Technology Officer Scott Archibald walked me through the four tank process. Archibald patiently explained img_1066.JPGthe site’s science to my humanities-oriented brain two and three times. I left convinced that Onsite will succeed when it builds its planned 120 ton-per-day (12 garbage truck loads) operation, which could power 1,390 houses or 450 cars per day (driving 100 miles).

In digestion current events, two UK companies just announced a new venture. Scottish and Southern Energy and Carbon Trust Enterprises are teaming to invest nearly 3 million in a food waste-to-energy scheme. Similar schemes are happening throughout Europe, where there’s less open land to dump trash. 

Domestically, there are a few ventures in the works on both coasts. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to discuss specifics before these projects are announced. But with one venture at a supermarket chain and another at a municipality, anaerobic digestion’s future is both bright and forthcoming. 

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