2017 Survey Results: Anaerobic Digestion Of Food Waste In The U.S.

US Stand Alone Food Waste Anaerobic Digestion FacilitiesResults of a 2017 survey of anaerobic digesters (AD) in the U.S. processing food waste was just released by the U.S. EPA Region 3 office. The report, Anaerobic Digestion Facilities Processing Food Waste in the United States in 2015, summarizes data received for three types of AD facilities: Stand-alone food waste digesters; On-farm digesters that codigest food waste; and Digesters at water resource recovery facilities. Total of 137 surveys were completed and tallied. 

EPA confirmed that 154 AD facilities processing food waste were operational. Another 30 facilities are believed to be operational, bringing the total operational (confirmed plus unconfirmed) to 184. Surveys were returned by 137 of the 184 total operational facilities.

Total processing capacity for food waste and food-based materials in all three digester types in 2015 (137 reporting) was 15.8 million tons/year; the total amount of food waste processed in all three digester types was 12.7 million tons.

Total amount of biogas produced at digesters in 2015 (by 137 AD facilities processing food waste) was 358,742 standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM), equivalent to 1,117 MW installed capacity, 8.361 billion kWh/year, or enough energy to power 684,639 homes for a year.

Top use of biogas among all three digester types was to produce heat and electricity (CHP).

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