EPA awards US$195,736 to Ohio University project for producing methane gas, fertilizers from food, brewery waste; university to also work with local restaurants to measure potential for waste diversion at microbreweries, estimate biogas, fertilizer yields

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WASHINGTON , October 25, 2022 (press release) –

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a $195,736 grant to Ohio University in Athens to fund a project that expands the use of anaerobic digesters to divert food waste from landfills and reduce methane emissions. Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service will use the funding to promote anaerobic digestion in the food and brewery sectors which generate large quantities of organic waste.

“As food breaks down, it produces methane -- a major contributor to climate change,” said EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore. “Anaerobic digesters can help cut food waste, reduce methane emissions from landfills and aid in the fight against climate change.”   

Anaerobic digesters use microorganisms to break down organic materials such as food scraps, manure and sewage sludge. The process produces a nutrient-rich product used for fertilizer and biogas which can be captured and used to produce energy.

“There are many opportunities for renewable biogas generation from organic wastes, and we are working to identify the most beneficial designs for microbrewery operations,” said Sarah Davis, principal investigator for Ohio University. “We are fortunate to have a partnership with an innovative microbrewery that prioritizes sustainability and look forward to highlighting their integrated farming-brewery-restaurant operations as a model for others.”

Ohio University will also work with local restaurants to quantify the potential for waste diversion at microbreweries. They will estimate the biogas and fertilizer yield from an anaerobic digestion system at these businesses.  The model, system designs and prototypes will be transferable to other microbreweries.

Contact Information
Mary Pressley (pressley.mary@epa.gov)

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