Can our food waste be­come the waste en­ergy plants of to­mor­row?

Ev­ery year, Auck­land house­holds dis­pose of close to 75,000 tonnes of or­ganic waste – made up of kitchen and food scraps.

Element - - BUSINESS -

Cur­rently that waste is put into our land­fills, where it pro­duces a va­ri­ety of pol­lut­ing gases and liq­uid leachates.

Now imag­ine a process whereby that waste pro­duces meth­ane gas which can be cap­tured and burned to pro­duce heat and elec­tric­ity, with the re­main­ing solids used as rich, fer­til­is­ing com­post. This is the re­al­ity in the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties around the world which have adopted bio-di­ges­tion tech­nol­ogy.

It is vi­tal for the health of our planet and for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions that we find bet­ter ways to deal with our waste and re­cover and re-use re­sources. Auck­land Coun­cil, in at­tempt­ing to ad­dress this prob­lem, has devel­oped the first Auck­land-wide plan, aim­ing at an as­pi­ra­tional goal of Zero Waste by 2040, help­ing peo­ple to min­imise their waste and cre­ate eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties in do­ing so. The coun­cil aims to de­liver waste ser­vices more ef­fi­ciently, find bet­ter ways to re­cover and re-use re­sources, and send less waste to land­fill.

Auck­land-based Jonassen In­dus­trial Projects Lim­ited (JIPL), in con­junc­tion with Mon­sal, the UK’s lead­ing Ad­vanced Anaer­o­bic Di­ges­tion and In­te­grated Bio­gas-to-En­ergy Busi­ness, pos­sesses the tech­nol­ogy to turn waste into en­ergy. Waste con­tain­ing large amounts of or­ganic mat­ter, such as food waste and green waste is a valu­able com­mod­ity that can be re­cy­cled into gas, elec­tric­ity and a high­qual­ity fer­tiliser.

This is the tech­nol­ogy that coun­cils in New Zealand cur­rently have the op­por­tu­nity to im­ple­ment. This tech­nol­ogy could cre­ate new jobs and gen­er­ate sig­nif­i­cant amounts of re­new­able en­ergy and fer­tiliser, while solv­ing a ma­jor en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sue in the dis­posal of waste food.

The bio-waste-to-en­ergy con­cept is al­ready be­ing widely ap­plied for the con­ver­sion of com­mer­cial and house­hold food waste to bio­gas in the UK. The Mon­sal tech­nol­ogy plat­form is well es­tab­lished and has been op­er­a­tional on large food waste and house­hold kitchen waste treat­ment and re­cy­cling plants for over 10 years on the Euro­pean con­ti­nent. Mon­sal has in­stalled four large food waste-to-en­ergy plants in the UK and are in the process of in­stalling an­other two this year, with oth­ers un­der ne­go­ti­a­tion.

Turn­ing Food Waste in Re­new­able En­ergy and High Qual­ity Di­ges­tate Fer­tiliser

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