Farm to fork to … fuel?!

Thank you to Siemny Chhoun and News10 Sacramento for a great article about our Biodigester and the social impact of what we are trying to do. Please read her article reproduced below and view the video at the bottom of the page.

BioCNG Sign photo Courtesy News 10 Sacramento
Photo Courtesy News 10 Sacramento

Farm to Fork to¬†… fuel?!

by Siemny Chhuon, KXTV 11:03 p.m. PDT May 8, 2014

Posted on

Sacramento is at the forefront of the movement known as “closing the loop.”

Food is grown locally, it feeds the community and then the organic food waste is converted into renewable energy — from farm to fork to fuel.

In south Sacramento, trash company Atlas Disposal diverts organic waste that would have gone into a landfill and uses it to produce renewable gas.

“When we first started, they thought we were a little crazy,” Atlas Refuel’s Andrea Stephenson said.

Food thrown in the trash eventually ends up at Atlas Refuel’s facility in south Sacramento and is turned into compressed natural gas, which powers certain trucks.

The conversion process is possible thanks to a contraption known as the biodigester, which was invented by a UC Davis scientist. Sacramento-based company Clean World commercialized it.

Atlas Disposal got the biodigester and installed it in its fueling station known Atlas Refuel. Half of Atlas’ fleet is powered by the very waste it hauls. The city of Sacramento also fills up there, powering trucks that once ran on diesel.

“The more fossil fuel we can conserve the better,” Stephenson explained. “Especially as it comes to reducing our dependence on foreign oil in particular.”

The process from dump to pump takes 21 days. The trash comes from restaurants like Broderick’s in West Sacramento, where a separate bin collects the leftovers.

“It just makes sense,” Broderick’s owner Jarosz said. “A huge portion of our leftover waste is food waste.”

Jarosz also owns a couple of food trucks. He’s looking to “close the loop” and is working on retrofitting a food truck that will can on natural gas.

“It’s really amazing to think this technology is where it is now,” Jarosz added.

The city also just launched a pilot program in the Elmhurst neighborhood to collect food waste for the biodigester. If successful, it could be expanded citywide.

Right now, the south Sacramento facility is expanding, quadrupling the amount of food the biodigestor can take in and how much gas is produced.

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