Emerson Advances Food Waste to Energy


by | Mar 7, 2017

What do wasted food and energy have in common? One can be recycled to create the other.

RCR Wireless is reporting that industrial giant Emerson has developed anaerobic digestion tanks, which take the food waste and produce methane that is then piped to generators to create electricity. It calls its initiative Grind2Energy.

According to EPA, food waste is among the least recovered material. And when it is disposed of in landfills, it creates methane that is a potent greenhouse gas. Only 3% of food is recycled, it says.

But food waste has economic value. As for Emerson, it has partnered with AT&T that provides some of the technical aspects of this anaerobic digestive process such as scheduled maintenance, real time usage and sustainable reports.

“The biggest benefit they’re getting is uptime,” said AT&T’s Mobeen Khan, who manages internet of things strategies and products for the carrier, in the RCR Wireless story. “That’s really what it’s all about. If they can predict maintenance, or figure out how to predict failures and schedule maintenance ahead of time, that is the biggest value that the solution provides.”

The story adds that the system can also detect clogs and add water as needed, which is an important component because customers — hotels, supermarkets and restaurants — that would use this technology can’t have a person there watching over these tanks.

“Right now, we’re literally trashing more than one-third of our food supply — an ongoing crime against hunger, the environment, efficiency, and common sense,” says Dana Gunders, senior scientist for Food and Agriculture at the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a blog.

“If global food waste were a country, it would have the third-largest greenhouse-gas footprint in the world?—?ranking right behind the United States and China in terms of how much carbon pollution is generated from its growing, cooling, transportation, and disposal,” she writes.

She goes on to say that uneaten food is now the single largest contributor to U.S. landfills and as much as 40% of all food goes to waste. That amounts to more than $162 billion worth of food every year.

Champions 123 generally agrees, adding that at least a third of all the food produced in the world is lost from farm to fork.

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