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Recent Project Updates
- Compost at Illini Union
- Compost at National Soybean Research Center (NSRC)
- Environment-Enhancing Energy Paradigm for Food Waste to Biofuel and Biomaterial
- Feasibility Research on Food Waste Biodigesters
- Food Donation
- Food Literacy Project
- Large-Scale Food Waste Composting
To combat the issue of food waste on campus, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign implemented Grind2Energy systems at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.
These systems operate similarly to kitchen garbage disposals. However, they are significantly more powerful than household disposals and run at 10.0 horsepower. Meanwhile, household disposals only operate around 0.5-3.0 horsepower.
In order to convert the food waste into energy:
- The food waste goes through the grinder and becomes a "slurry."
- The slurry is pumped into a 5000-6000 gallon holding tank right outside of the dining hall.
- When the tank gets 80% full, the Urbana-Champaign Sanitary District is notified and the slurry is picked up from the holding tank by a liquid vacuum truck.
- Once the slurry is dropped off at the sanitary district, they put it in an anaerobic digester.
- From there, they collect methane from the digester and produce electricity to run their plant.
This is the best option for dining halls, as University-scale composting is not feasible and the process diverts food waste from being sent to landfills. The Grind2Energy systems are currently at FAR and ISR. However, the University is in the process of trying to procure and install the systems at Ikenberry, LAR, and PAR.
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