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Projects Updates for Plan for Organic Waste

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  1. Background research on anaerobic digesters

    Sarthak Prasad shared 2018 notes from conversations held with stakeholders at The Ohio State University, West Lafayette (Purdue University), Bevier Cafe (University of Illinois), US Army Corps -- Champaign, and Michigan State University -- East Lansing on the topic of anerobic digesters. Attached are the notes. The document will continue to grow as more conversations occur.

  2. F&S, iSEE to investigate anaerobic digestion at other campuses

    Sarthak Prasad, Jen Fraterrigo, and Daphne Hulse intend to pursue conversations with campuses that have successfully installed anaerobic digesters. Michigan State University and Pennsylvania State University have been identified as the first campuses to initiate a conversation with. The goal of these conversations will be to understand how campuses achieved momentum and will for the digesters to be financed and built (stakeholders include but are not limited to farmers, relevant academic departments, crop sciences, digester operators, waste management and sustainability, organic waste haulers, researchers).

  3. North American introduces F&S to aerobic composting technology

    From: Zach Hansen <>
    Sent: Monday, August 14, 2023 10:16 AM
    To: Varney, Pete <>; Sinn, Macie <>; Hulse, Daphne Lauren <>
    Subject: RE: Food Composting

    Sounds great!

    Daphne, if you are interested in getting more information on this solution, my counterparts in California has worked closely together on a number of projects with them so I could set up a call.

    Thanks and I hope you all had a great weekend!


    Zach​​​​ Hansen

    Account Executive

    O: (630) 864-8755



    Learn about our family of brands


    From: Varney, Pete <>
    Sent: Monday, August 14, 2023 9:01 AM
    To: Zach Hansen <>; Sinn, Macie <>; Hulse, Daphne Lauren <>
    Subject: RE: Food Composting


    Daphne just discussed composting with me last week and it is of importance to her. I’ll let her take the lead on this if she wishes to follow-up.


    Thank you,


    (217) 333-7583


    From: Zach Hansen <>
    Sent: Friday, August 11, 2023 4:37 PM
    To: Varney, Pete <>; Sinn, Macie <>; Hulse, Daphne Lauren <>
    Subject: Food Composting

    Hi Pete, Macie, and Daphne,

    Completely unrelated to the F&S meetings that we have been having, but I wanted to bring this to your attention.

    If there are increases in demand for composting around the facilities like cafeterias, housing, even athletics, this was a pretty cool machine that seems incredibly easy to use and composts food scraps in 5 days!

    Have a great weekend!



    Zach​​​​ Hansen

    Account Executive

    O: (630) 864-8755



    Learn about our family of brands


  4. 6-15-23 F&S investigating food truck composting in collaboration with CCES

    From: Carroll, Cassandra Leah <>
    Sent: Thursday, June 15, 2023 9:52 AM
    To: Gloss, Stacy L <>; Mahajan, Shreya <>
    Cc: Hulse, Daphne Lauren <>
    Subject: RE: Compost Bin in Urbana


    Hi Shreya,


    Please also contact Susan Monte at Champaign County Environmental Stewards to collaborate on this work:


    Here is their website:




    Cassie Carroll

    Marketing & Communications Director

    Smart Energy Design Assistance Center

    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

    1 St. Mary’s Road, Champaign, IL 61820


  5. 6-12-23 F&S looking into local composting options for food trucks

    F&S is looking into local composting options for the green food truck program.


    From: Gloss, Stacy L <>
    Sent: Monday, June 12, 2023 2:33 PM
    To: Mahajan, Shreya <>
    Cc: Hulse, Daphne Lauren <>; Carroll, Cassandra Leah <>
    Subject: RE: Compost Bin in Urbana


    Hi Shreya,


    Here is more information about this program.





    From: Mahajan, Shreya <>
    Sent: Monday, June 12, 2023 1:57 PM
    To: Gloss, Stacy L <>
    Cc: Hulse, Daphne Lauren <>; Carroll, Cassandra Leah <>
    Subject: Compost Bin in Urbana


    Hi Stacy,


    From our meeting on July 24, you mentioned that Urbana has a compost bin that is designed to take waste from commercial businesses. I was talking with my team, and it would be great if we implemented a system that collected compostable materials and food waste from food trucks. Would you happen to have more information about this site?



    Shreya Mahajan

  6. TEACH AD workshop at the Healthy Lifestyle Hub, about the anaerobic digesters installed at Green Era Campus

    Sarthak Prasad and Daphne Hulse attended an in-person TEACH AD workshop at the Healthy Lifestyle Hub in Chicago to learn about the anaerobic digesters installed at Green Era Campus in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood.

  7. Feasibility study for an anerobic digester on campus with Marcello Pbiri - Meeting 1

    Attendance: Tyler Swanson, Daphne Hulse, Meredith Moore, Sarthak Prasad, Shawn Maurer, Joy Scrogum, Justin Holding, Paul Foote, Shreya Mahajan, Brent Lewis, Jason Ensign, Tim Mies, Colleen Ruhter, Jonathon Mosley, Marcello, Thurman Etchison, Morgan White, Damon McFall, Robert Roman

    • UIC would like to do a screening analysis scenario for a small or micro-scale digester on campus
    • UIUC farms investigated this in the past with ACES
    • Marcello’s introduction: 200lbs of waste per day in a small-scale digester (in the shape of the container), frequent bottom-line thinking, it’s more about sustainability and the creation of green jobs, involving students, because the economics may be tight for money savings. But there are a few companies that are manufacturing small scale digesters. UIC had a speaker during their TEACH AD webinar who was a student from San Diego California. Installed one of these on their campus, student was the operator of the digester. Interested to see if this is something to be replicated at UIUC?
    • Morgan’s introduction: high-level feasibility analysis (not the most robust because of funding limitations). Hear from the college of ACES about a study of 10 years ago.
    • Marcello thinks the outcomes weren’t very favorable for this time? This is another possible scenario too. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is doing something similar. They are partnering with a farm which installed a small-scale digester in the farm for food waste and manure. The university owns the digester and the farmer owns the farmer, so it is a partnership. Maybe we could replicate this. These projects seem to become more and more feasible.
    • Marcello’s question for the group: what are the main motivations for UIUC to look into anaerobic digesters?
    • Reducing waste, looking at clean energy, protecting the planet
    • Do not have an environmentally beneficial or neutral solution for organic waste at the large scale for our campus. Dining is able to do the digester at the sanitary district, but we have animal waste and food waste at more than just the dining halls
    • Looking at how to get to carbon neutral energy. Anaerobic digestion was identified in 2010. Dean of Animal Science was ready to push for it, but then he was promoted and then retired
    • ACES has agreed with current dean to include the analysis of a large scale digester when they build a new dairy facility, but this is very far down the road
    • Swine modernization facility; needs to deal with waste that is there. animals will be added to this space in the future. looking into options for that particular facility.
    • Operational + research perspective, a micro-digester looks nice. Oshkosh does tours, internships, etc so it is like a pilot project to demonstrate the feasibility of the technology
    • Sanitary district is paid to receive the waste, and they get the benefit of seeing the methane capture
      • It would be good to see the benefits stay in house
    • Hypothetically you could create a new position for this, or you could do it through student intern. What happens to the residual material from the digester? can be used as fertilizer, grow food, use the food and food waste goes back to the digester “circular economy”

    Marcello’s second question: Takeaway for the old feasibility study?

    • It should be at the future dairy facility (conversations were had, maybe not in the study)
    • $10M capital cost, so it probably costs more now
    • Shared the energy output we would expect if we took all food waste from dining
    • Could use as compressed natural gas (CNG) for fleet vehicles
    • Combined heat and power (Abbott) which primarily uses natural gas, but could use biogas from an anaerobic digester, there is an opportunity here

    CHP, CNG or renewable natural gas are what Marcello is familiar with

    Next steps: Marcello will work on an updated feasibility study.


    Link to the recording

  8. Article Highlights Conversion of Food Waste Into Energy

    To combat the issue of food waste, U of I Housing collaborated with F&S Utilities & Energy Services, Operations, Maintenance & Alterations, and environmental compliance. The committee researched various food waste options, including composting, pulpers, and grinder systems used for anaerobic digestion -- including Grind2Energy systems.

    These operate similarly to an industrial garbage disposal. However, it uses significantly less water than the digester system, up to 90-95 percent less. Additionally, it does not send the waste directly to the sanitary sewer. The food waste is pumped into a 5000-6000 gallon tank located on the outside of the building it serves. A tanker truck empties the waste and takes it to the local sanitary district. The industrial-strength waste is processed in an anaerobic digester, where it undergoes treatment without oxygen. The methane produced is collected and used to generate electricity at the treatment plant.

    Read more about Grind2Energy use on campus through the F&S Website or the PDF in the attached files!