Large catering enterprises can turn food waste into energy

Tuesday, 11 October, 2016


Emerson’s innovative large-scale food waste recycling system, Grind2Energy, puts food waste to work — by converting it into energy.

At the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland (US), large amounts of food waste is ground on-site and converted into a slurry using an industrial-strength InSinkErator grinder. The quasar energy group, a full waste-to-energy company, then transports this material to one of its local anaerobic digestion facilities to extract methane for energy production and to produce a nutrient-rich soil amendment.

The environmental benefit is significant, and that impact adds up for bigger venues: commercial kitchens produce on average more than 1800 kg of food waste a week. According to United Nations estimates, as much as one-third of the food we produce globally is wasted each year. If half of this food waste (15 million tons) went to anaerobic digesters instead of landfills each year, the carbon emissions equivalent of about half a million automobiles would be removed.

The Cleveland Convention Center is just one of many local institutions to introduce the Grind2Energy system. Grind2Energy came to the city in a major-league way when the Cleveland Browns put the technology to use at FirstEnergy Stadium in 2013.

“We’re committed to being as green as we can, and Grind2Energy helps us achieve that in ways we never thought possible,” said Mark J Leahy, general manager of the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland and Global Center for Health Innovation. “As a large and busy event space with multiple kitchens going every day, Grind2Energy is an area where we can make a big impact — on our food waste, energy and the planet.”

“Cleveland has emerged as a strong partner and leader in the effort to expand this groundbreaking technology to turn global food waste into a renewable energy,” said Chad Severson, president of InSinkErator, a business of Emerson. “We hope more cities follow their example of environmental stewardship and advocacy.”

Results from Cleveland and other Grind2Energy early adopters have demonstrated the solution’s ability to reduce landfill waste, generate significant energy from renewable resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, all at costs equal to or less than composting or other environmentally friendly options.

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