East Bay Energy

Here’s a nice recap of Oakland’s uber-progressive food-waste-to-energy plant. East Bay Municipal Utility District (East Bay MUD) has an anaerobic digestion plant that converts Oakland’s food waste to energy, which it then use to power the West Oakland sewage treatment plant.

photo by mattdork via creative commonsCool!

I think anaerobic digestion is a sound destination for that inedible food waste that’s always going to occur. It’s not on the EPA’s food waste recovery hierarchy, but I’d put it right above composting.

There are just two things I’m not sure about from the article. One, does the East Bay MUD plant really produce a carbon dioxide byproduct? When I worked at an anaerobic digestion company, there was no talk of a CO2, just an organic sludge that could be turned into a soil amendment.

The other bone to pick: When food is composted, if done properly, it does not release methane. As long as the pile or row is turned often enough so that all parts receive oxygen (and don’t go anaerobic), there won’t be any methane emissions.Anyway, I hope more municipalities follow MUD’s path.

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