The gas coming out of the 400,000 gallon kettle on Michigan State’s campus is more than just hot air.
The waste, manure or compost that goes into the kettle will produce gases, methane being the most preferred, that will support electrical generation. The tank is located next to MSU’s dairy farm and because of its partnership with Meijer and other local restaurants and cafeterias, the tank produces more energy than other dairy farms twice its size. This production rate also has to do with, according to Dana Kirk, Assistant Professor and manager of MSU's Anaerobic Digester Research and Education Center, that they are “using organic waste to power it.” They are not only creating energy but also keeping more waste out of landfills by extracting the nutrients from it and reusing them.
The project has created energy, reduced waste and also created jobs, and will continue to do so. While the project itself created one full-time position, it also creates more service jobs through the servicing of the machine and the delivery of the waste materials. As more are installed throughout the state, more businesses will be created to maintain them. It also offers valuable work in the way of experience for the students who help run the project.
Source: Dana Kirk, Assistant Professor
?Author: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor