Manure and brewery waste could yield biofuels, say US project leaders

Waste from dairy farms and beer breweries could provide the necessary ingredients to grow algae-based biofuels say the leaders of a project based in Vermont, US.

The US Department of Agriculture awarded the association, which includes the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), a $51,000 (€37,000) grant to research biofuels technology using algae during a news conference at the Nordic Dairy Farm in nearby Charlotte.

Anju Dahiya, project director, president and co-founder of General Systems Research, explains that the waste streams from beer breweries and dairy farms create a nutrient-rich mixture that could be used to grow algae, which can then be used to make biofuels and other organic products.

The project's research will build on existing processes to create algae-based biofuel using Vermont ingredients, Dahiya says. The study will use the Nordic Dairy Farm's anaerobic digester, which is currently not suited for the project, to capture phosphorous and nitrogen from manure and the carbon-rich waste from the nearby beer brewery will be added to create algae.

CAAFI's involvement comes from their sponsorship of Farm to Fly 2.0, an initiative to research and develop bio-jet fuels across the US.

'There are not many places where you can see the entire supply chain in front of you,' says Richard Altman, executive director emeritus at the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI). He adds that there are plans to have similar projects running in every state to look at creative renewable supplies specifically for jet fuel.

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