Plug and play anaerobic digestion takes your waste and turns it into biogas

Plug and play anaerobic digestion takes your waste and turns it into biogas
Around 1.3 billion tonnes of food produced for human consumption is either lost or wasted every single year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
PHOTO: Pixabay

The amount of food we waste is astonishing.

Around 1.3 billion tonnes of food produced for human consumption is either lost or wasted every single year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

For some, turning this abundance of waste into something other than landfill is fast becoming a key component in the battle to make our planet a more sustainable place to live.

London based bio-bean, for example, has industrialized the process of taking waste coffee grounds, recycling them and turning them into "advanced biofuels and biochemicals."

At UK based SEaB Energy, they are using compact anaerobic digestion systems in shipping containers to turn organic waste into energy in the form of biogas, which is used to fuel a combined heat and power (CHP) engine. This CHP engine then provides electricity and heat.

Read also: 80% of households in Asia-Pacific regularly waste food at home: Survey

The key to their Flexibuster system is that it is not centralized - it's a plug and play model, where power generation takes place on site.

"(It) is easy to use, it's easy to install - it clicks together," Sandra Sassow, co-founder and CEO of SEaB Energy, told CNBC's Sustainable Energy. "It's a series of shipping containers and it can be up and running in as little as a day," she added.

The fact that the system works on site means there are less emissions from vehicles taking the waste to a central site. "Currently in the market there are centralized systems," Sassow said. "Those systems require movement of waste to them, we're very different from that because we are reprocessing the waste on site."

One such site where SEaB's technology is being used is at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

"We've got over 1,200 beds, we've got over ten and a half thousand members of staff, we have probably another 15,000 or so visitors to our site every day," Mark Bagnall, from the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said.

"So all that creates a lot of waste, and we can put it through Flexibuster rather than sending it off to landfill."

Read also: 4 ways to not waste food this holiday season

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