Every year over 137.7 million tons of waste are produced and taken to landfills. This contributes significantly to greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution in our environment. While we can reduce waste, it is nearly impossible to eliminate organic waste streams, and therefore we must do our best to find uses for these streams in an effective way that benefits our environment.
IREA is taking the necessary steps in research and development to find the best ways to transform waste into commodities. This process creates alternatives that reduce GHG emissions, such as methane and carbon dioxide. These harmful gases contribute to climate change, which can cause devastating effects on our planet.
What Waste Can Be Converted Into a Commodity?
In the agriculture industry, some food losses and waste are unavoidable, especially when impacted by environmental or market conditions. Changing the way we discard food can have massive benefits. This organic waste stream can be repurposed as a renewable energy source instead of taken to landfills. Landfills release methane and carbon dioxide and can pollute the water and soil of their surrounding areas. Most organic waste within a landfill can be processed into a renewable energy sources.
Waste-to-Commodity Facilities (WCF) process organic waste, such as food waste and livestock manure into alternative energy sources (biogas). Since 1990 livestock manure management systems have caused a 57.1% increase in methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Moving away from traditional methods to WCF waste management processes stands to significantly reduce GHG emissions, as there are over 2 million operational farms in the U.S.
What Does a Waste-to-Commodity Facility (WCF) Look Like?
One example of a fully implemented WCF includes the processing of organic waste streams on a farm (chicken litter, manure, crop residue, etc.) as feedstock to produce biogas, carbon-neutral electricity, organic fertilizer, and algal biomass, while reducing on-site GHG emissions, sequestering carbon, and eliminating harmful nutrient runoff into local watersheds. Our WCF is comprised of our patent pending anaerobic digestion technology, combined heat & power (CHP) engine equipped with carbon capture equipment, phosphorus extraction leach bed, nitrogen stripping column, and algal biomass system.
The general operation of the system involves utilizing anaerobic digestion to convert manure into biogas and at the same time isolate nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus to eliminate nutrient runoff issues from improper waste management. The biogas evolved from this process will be utilized in a CHP to create renewable electricity for use on the farm, relieving the farmer from their reliance on the utility companies. Importantly, the exhaust from this process will be a converted stream of CO2 which will be captured by algae via photosynthesis to create a nutritional commodity. As a result, the WCF provides a carbon-negative solution which offers 1) manure management, ii) renewable energy, iii) nutrient efficient fertilizers to promote crop growth, and 2) a nutrient rich algal based animal feed supplement.
Have Questions About Waste-to-Commodity Facilities (WCF)? IREA Is Here to Help
As a leading company for renewable energy solutions, IREA strives to create a healthier world by mitigating the impacts from waste and advancing renewable energy technologies. We develop customized plans for each client to provide the most energy-efficient results. Having started with one employee in 2008 to now having over 300 employees has given us years of experience providing effective results. Our experiences have allowed us to work on various size projects in the public and private sector. We currently have WCFs in Virginia and Maryland and partnerships in several other states. Contact us today at (202) 957-4131 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and visit our website: irea-llc.com to learn more about our current projects. We look forward to helping you discover the best renewable energy solution for your specific needs.