Sustainable Food Waste-To-energy Systems
Economic barriers are major considerations for the successful implementation and deployment of food waste-to-energy systems, along with technical, operational, and management aspects. For cities, municipalities, and medium and small food-related businesses in urban and semiurban areas that currently landfill the majority of food scraps and food-related waste, it would require the involvement of multiple stakeholders such as municipal decision makers, haulers, investors, and business managers to overcome challenges on costs, financing, revenue streams, and end-market development for energy and by-products. A project-specific financial feasibility analysis should incorporate a budget of all expenditures, including start-up capital costs and operating expenses, revenues, sources of funds, loan and interest repayments on borrowed capital, and investor income and disbursements. Anaerobic digesters, often suitable for high moisture-content organic wastes, have been commercially successful for food waste-to-energy applications and have potential for wider deployment for municipal and business waste generators. Digester systems codigesting food waste with other organic waste, such as livestock manure or wastewater sludge, are operational in large and medium scales at single-site livestock farms, centralized locations for multiple farms, and wastewater treatment plants or water resource recovery facilities. Systems operating solely on mixed food waste at centralized locations and at large food waste generators are increasing.