Processing OFFW Co-Producing Bioenergy and Nutrients


About 40% of the food that is used for human consumption is wasted. As per the 2012 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency statistics, ~15% of the 251 million tons of municipality solid waste was the food waste stream. While the conventional management (example, land-filling) of solid waste and particularly, food waste is not economically viable and raises environmental concerns. Remediation and management of the organic fraction food waste (OFFW) is an ongoing issue. Hydrothermal processing (example, liquefaction) is potentially a cost-effective solution for treating OFFW, recovering N and P nutrients, and generating energy. Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) involves pressure cooking of organic constituents in hot, compressed under and produces an energy-dense liquid fuel precursor, called ‘biocrude’. New Mexico State University (NMSU)’s Chemical and Materials Engineering department has been conducting HTL experiments with algae and other organic feedstock. The biocrude generated from HTL process has an energy content of 30-40 MJ/kg and can be catalytically upgraded into fuel oil similar to gasoline and diesel. The current project will investigate the potential of OFFW as a HTL feedstock via literature survey and experimentation and put forward recommendations for high-value uses of food waste generated from community uses such as local restaurants.

Completion Objectives:

• Review literature on generation of food waste in the U.S. and New Mexico State, composition/characteristics of food waste and the state of the art methods of remediation technologies
• Prepare experimental safety plan (ESP) for hydrothermal processing of organic fraction of food waste.
• Prepare report on experimental results and recommendations for the future use of food waste for production of bioenergy and high-value products

Faculty Advisor:


Required Competencies

CHME 201

Student Researcher:

Alan Moya

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