Clarkson University in New York has received a $20,000 (€17,700) grant to convert food waste into energy.
The grant was allocated by Constellation, an Exelon Company which provides power, natural gas, renewable energy and energy products and services for US homes and businesses.
The project, ‘Food-to-Energy, Forging New Partnerships: Promoting Resource Recovery in Schools and Community to Make a Lasting Impact’, will see waste from the university’s cafeteria converted into renewable energy.
The programme will be led by Professor of Civil Environmental Engineering, Stefan Grimberg, and Associate Professor of Engineering and the Institute for STEM Education, Jan DeWaters.
“Thanks to a dedicated group of Clarkson and Canton Central School (CCS) students and staff, we’ve been able to treat cafeteria food waste for the last three years, bringing it to our nearby anaerobic digester located at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Farm in Canton, New York,” said Grimberg.
“Since we started, we’ve treated nearly 16 tons of waste, generating the equivalent of about 20,600 kWh of energy. This year, our programme will expand to engage Clarkson students in a campus resource recovery project using our anaerobic digester on campus.”
Clarkson students enrolled in a multidisciplinary project course will be tasked with developing and administering educational materials for students at CCS and Heuvelton Central School, mentoring CCS students to expand their food waste initiative, and creating educational materials for Clarkson and the broader community.
DeWaters commented: “This year, we are excited to engage the Clarkson community in a food waste collection system for the newly relocated campus digester. Our students will leverage the excellent materials produced by last year’s group to educate the community about food waste and resource recovery.”
Clarkson students will also help to oversee the operation of the digester and work with Grimberg and DeWaters to analyse food waste disposal options, and explore sustainable food waste treatment.