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Beneficial Re-Use of Waste Carbon, from Food to Hazardous Wastes; Partnering with a Digestion Facility to Turn Waste into Power

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High-strength organic wastes are produced by a myriad of industries ranging from aerospace to zinc mines. These wastes, produced in manufacturing process, are almost always seen as a necessary, expensive cost of doing business. While not commonplace, various industries are finding value in the waste carbon produced at that facility. While it is always cost beneficial to produce less waste, if this waste is biodegradable or could be made benign and biodegradable with minor treatment, this waste could have a financial value in today's carbon-energy world.

Industries are increasingly partnering with municipal wastewater treatment facilities to re-use this carbon in enhanced anaerobic processes, generating methane and power from digestion of these high-strength wastes. Numerous examples are found in the literature from conventional wastes such as food and oil and grease (O&G). But, increasingly, more recalcitrant materials are being introduced to digesters which, after acclimation, have been found to be highly biodegradable and represent a ;amp;#x201C;fuel value” for the receiving facility. Thus, the paradigm of cost for waste disposal could be shifted to the point where wastes, if managed correctly, could represent an additional product produced by an industry.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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