A-dress­ing the prob­lem

CityPress - - News -

A univer­sity in the US has given 4 700 litres of ru­ined may­on­naise a dress­ing down – and fu­elled a farm in the process. Last De­cem­ber, when freez­ing tem­per­a­tures com­pro­mised 500 con­tain­ers of may­on­naise in the can­teen, Michi­gan State Univer­sity had to find a use for it. Af­ter “stu­dents in the cafe­te­ria com­plained” and the lo­cal food bank turned it down, the may­on­naise needed to be dealt with, wrote The State News. So Carla Ian­siti, a school sus­tain­abil­ity of­fi­cer, dreamt up a plan – the condi­ment was fed to the univer­sity’s anaer­o­bic di­gester, which is used to power some farms nearby. In the di­gester, micro­organ­isms eat biodegrad­able waste and pro­duce bio­gas, which can be com­busted into heat and elec­tric­ity. Ian­siti cor­rectly be­lieved that the tiny crea­tures that thrive on sugar and fats would love may­on­naise. The univer­sity’s culi­nary ser­vices sus­tain­abil­ity of­fi­cer, Cole Gude, said: “It was a per­fect sit­u­a­tion to turn what could have been a catas­tro­phe into some­thing pos­i­tive.” Bio­gas is nat­u­rally pro­duced in land­fill sites as bac­te­ria break down our rub­bish, but nor­mally the meth­ane es­capes into the at­mos­phere, where it con­trib­utes to global warm­ing. If a pipe net­work with holes in it is built into the land­fill site and the meth­ane is pre­vented from es­cap­ing, the meth­ane can be col­lected and used.

– At­las Ob­scura; BBC

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