EPA awards MU funding for biogas study
The EPA is awarding the University of Missouri nearly $300 thousand to research the commercial use and application of anaerobic digestion of food waste. Anaerobic digestion is the process of bacteria breaking down organic matter without oxygen, such as food.
EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford says 30 to 40 percent of food is wasted and about 75 billion pounds of food go to landfills or incinerators every year. He tells Brownfield food waste going into landfills is a losing proposition.
“Anaerobic digestion produces two very valuable products,” Gulliford said. “A biogas that can be used as fuel and should be used as fuel and then secondly a fertilizer type biproduct as well.”
Gulliford says while anaerobic digestion isn’t a new process, MU’s focus will be on commercialization of the process.
“Commercialization of processes like this have to be fine-tuned or they may not be successful,” he said. “You may not get the optimization of the fuel that’s produced, or you may be wasting input.”
Gulliford says the fuel produced is a clean biogas that burns like natural gas.
MU is one of 12 agencies to receive funding to study anaerobic digestion. MU’s study will be led by Dr. Zhiqiane Hu from the University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.
EPA’s Region 7 covers Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.