Biodigester turns UC Davis campus waste into campus energy

UC Davis is ringing in Earth Day with the unveiling of their new Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester (READ) at the campus’ old landfill. The large tanks of the biodigester contain bacterial microbes that take food and yard waste and convert it into clean energy that supplies the campus electrical grid. Ruihong Zhang, a professor of biological and agricultural engineering at the University of California, Davis has been working on this project for over a decade now. “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. I am proud and grateful to be a part of the team who helped make this moment a reality.” The digester can convert 50 tons of waste into 12,000 kWh of renewable energy, which takes away 20,000 tons of waste from landfills per year. 

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