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Utah facility turns old food into renewable energy

Utah facility turns old food into renewable energy

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NORTH SALT LAKE – A Utah facility has come up with what they call a solution to the food waste problem while creating natural energy.

“This really is the solution along the Wasatch Front for food waste,” said Morgan Bowerman, resource recovery and sustainability manager with Wasatch Resource Recovery.

Bowerman said the facility gives grocery stores, restaurants and food producers another option instead of sending their food waste to a landfill.

“Our landfills are made up of about 30 percent organic waste,” she said. “That food waste has no secondary use. It’s not composted.”

Wasatch Resource Recovery uses an anaerobic digester to turn that waste into natural gas and a nutrient rich compost.

The facility is a public-private partnership between ALPRO Energy & Water and the South Davis Sewer District located off of Center Street in North Salt Lake.

Bowerman said unlike other compost facilities in the state, they take the “full plate” of food waste.

“We can take the meat and the dairy and the oily food. We can take processed foods, sugary food, as well as the fruits and vegetable scraps,” she said.

The food waste is put into a machine which liquefies it, and that liquid is then put into a digester.

“We put it into our digester, which these little microorganisms that are much like the ones that are in our gut. They break down that food waste,” Bowerman said. “When they do so in the absence of oxygen, they give off gas, methane.”

The gas captured is then transferred to the Dominion energy pipeline and sold.

Bowerman said for now the facility is at a third capacity with nearly 100 clients.

When it is at capacity, the plant will produce enough energy to fuel a town of 40,000 people, roughly the size of Bountiful. It is a goal that is well on its way to reality.

“We get to make this massive dent in our waste stream,” she said. “We are really a solution that hasn’t been here before and now we are here. It is really exciting.”

Wasatch Resource Recovery clients are commercial businesses in Utah. The facility hopes to have a public drop off in the fall and eventually curbside pickup in the next couple of years.

For more information on becoming a client, visit wasatchresourcerecovery.com/contact/.

Ashley Moser

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