University of California-Davis, CleanWorld Launch Anaerobic Digestion Unit

Allan Gerlat, News Editor

April 24, 2014

1 Min Read
University of California-Davis, CleanWorld Launch Anaerobic Digestion Unit

The University of California-Davis has partnered with organic waste firm CleanWorld to open an anaerobic digestion (AD) operation at the university using a technology invented by a professor there.

The new digester at the campus’ former landfill is designed to convert 50 tons of organic waste tons of organic waste to 12,000 kilowatts of energy daily, diverting 20,000 tons of waste annually, according to a news release.

It uses a technology developed by Ruihong Zhang, a professor of biological and agricultural engineering at the university. It is the third commercial biodigester Sacramento-based CleanWorld has opened using Zhang’s technology in the past two years and is the nation’s largest anaerobic biodigester on a college campus.

Zhang’s technology is touted as more efficient, consuming a broader variety and bigger quantity of waste and turning it into energy faster and more consistently than other commercial anaerobic biodigesters.

The new AD facility blends landfill gases for the college’s closed landfill with biogas. Campus waste is converted to renewable energy using Zhang’s technology. What is not converted into biogas will be used as fertilizer and soil amendments.

“It has been the thrust of my research to bring the innovations we made possible at UC Davis to commercial scale,” Zhang said. “This technology can change the way we manage our solid waste. It will allow us to be more economically and environmentally sustainable.”

The university said the facility cost about $8.5 million, about two-thirds less than other AD facilities the university researched as potential energy sources. CleanWorld financed the majority of the project.

About the Author(s)

Allan Gerlat

News Editor, Waste360

Allan Gerlat joined the Waste360 staff in September 2011 as news editor. He was the editor of Waste & Recycling News for the first 16 years of its history, and under his guidance the publication won 27 national and regional awards.

Before Waste & Recycling News, Allan worked at another Crain Communications publication, Rubber & Plastics News, which covers rubber product manufacturing. He began with the publication as associate editor and eventually became managing editor, a position he held for nine years.

Allan is a graduate of Ohio University, where he earned a BS in journalism. He is based in Sagamore Hills, in northeast Ohio.

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