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US compost companies invest $40m in digester to turn food waste into natural gas

Long Island Compost (LIC) and its American Organic Energy (AOE) affiliate are moving forward with a plan to build a $40 million (€35.6 million) facility to turn food waste into natural gas.

After delays, AOE is planning to begin construction of an anaerobic digester in Yaphank, New York state by early next year.

Accepting and separating 180,000 tonnes of food waste from supermarkets, restaurants, hospitals, and schools is set to begin in summer 2016.

The project has received a $1.35 million grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

According to Charles Vigliotti, chief executive of LIC and AOE, the companies are working to apply for permits, local support, financing, and approvals for the plant.

Once operational, the plant will have three on-site 1MW generators capable of producing up to 6MW of power.

Vigliotti says the amount of energy generated at the plant per year will eventually be the equivalent of 2.1 million gallons of diesel fuel.

Machinery at the plant, including trucks, will powered by the produced gas, and any excess will be sold through the national grid gas distribution system to an outside buyer for a profit.