Michigan State Using Waste To Make Energy

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To the casual observer this equipment might not look like anything special, but this award-winning machinery could change the way we think about energy and waste.

"We're converting all of that organic waste from your plate or from a dairy farm or from a supermarket into renewable energy and fertilizer," said Dana Kirk, an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University.

Researchers at MSU are taking animal and food waste that may have ended up in a landfill, and using an anaerobic digestion facility to create new uses for it.

"Whether it's energy or fertilizer it just creates more sustainability for everybody," Kirk added.

Using this technology as a model could help the state reach Governor Snyder's goal of doubling recycling rates from 15 to 30 percent in the next two years.

"This is really our opportunity in Michigan to lead in environmental stewardship," said Dan Wyant, the director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

The anaerobic digestion tank generates about 3,000 megawatts of energy every year. To put that in perspective it's enough electricity to power Holmes Hall, the largest dormitory on campus.

"But it's also important to recognize that there's opportunities to create jobs and economic opportunities for the state of Michigan," Wyant added.

In true form of a sustainable system, it will end up creating added value. In 7 to 10 years MSU researches expect the system to start paying for itself.

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