US: Disney World’s biogas facility, a model for converting food waste into energy

As the US generates 35 million tons of food waste yearly, biodigesters are looked at as big business in the country.

Governments and companies alike are interested in digesters that turn biowaste into biogas, like the Harvest Power facility that supports the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, Florida.

Millions of people a year visit Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, the world’s most popular theme park. These days, some of the biowaste and biosolids they produce ends up being used to make electricity for the resort’s theme parks and hotels. Food waste – table scraps, used cooking oils and grease – is collected from selected restaurants in the Disney World complex, as well as area hotels and food processors, and sent to a system of giant tanks at a facility near the park. There, the food waste is mixed with biosolids – the nutrient-rich organic materials left over after sewage is treated – and treated through anaerobic digestion. The biogas is combusted in generators to make electricity, while the remaining solids can be processed into digestate.

The circular economy at Disney World could thus turn out to be the best way to extract value from food scraps and treated sewage that would otherwise wind up in a landfill.

“We’re able to turn all of the waste stream into productive products,” says Kathleen Ligocki, the chief executive of Harvest Power, a venture capital-funded clean-tech company that built the Florida facility. “This is our goal – pumpkins to power, waste to wealth.”

Source: The Guardian
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