The benefits of waste-to-energy technologies


Sustainability issue

Category: Energy

Currently, food waste makes up the largest share of what goes into U.S. landfills and 1/3 of the world’s food is wasted. While finding ways to prevent food waste is incredibly significant, having a way to keep the food from being wasted, in the end, is also very valuable. Keeping the waste out of landfills and instead of producing clean energy could go a long way to reducing our carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels.

Technology solution

  • The technique developed at Cornell University first utilizes hydrothermal liquefaction to essentially pressure cook the food scraps to make a bio-oil that can be refined into a biofuel.
  • The food waste that remains after removing the oil is a watery liquid.
  • This is fed to an anaerobic digester to convert the waste into methane over a few days. This two-step approach quickly produces a usable energy source that can be used to generate electricity or heat and doesn’t let any go to waste.
  • The aqueous product from hydrothermal processing is much better for bacteria in anaerobic digestion than using the raw biomass directly. Combining hydrothermal processing and anaerobic digestion is more efficient and faster.
  • Approximately, minutes in hydrothermal liquefaction and a few days in an anaerobic digester.


  • Citizens
  • Municipal government
  • Companies in renewable and sustainable energy field

Implementation steps

Step 1: Introduce this technology to government, energy companies, and citizens and call for the awareness of issues.

Step 2: Set up pilot study at local communities and government facilities.

Step 3: Establish a corporation relationship with the government and build an incentive system to encourage city and energy company to use this technology.



Comment on Another Blog Post

Post: Timber Towers – Future of Construction

Comment: Cross-laminated timber sites are still hard to find in the country. Prefabricated slabs of cross-laminated timber, which form the framework of most timber buildings, are usually shipped in from Austria. And cross-laminated timber manufacturing isn’t sufficiently developed in France.


UNI – wy2283




2 thoughts on “The benefits of waste-to-energy technologies

  1. This is a great idea but part of the problem with food waste in the city is getting citizens to participate. For instance, New York City is rolling out compost collection but most residents still don’t compost. How would you propose citizen engagement on this project?


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