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Creating Renewable Energy at the U.S. Air Force Academy

New U.S. regulations require that federal facilities use renewable energy sources to meet 7 percent of energy needs by 2013 and 25 percent by 2025. To meet these objectives—as well as limit environmental impacts, reduce demand on stressed energy systems, decrease overall operations and maintenance costs, and increase the reliability of site-specific power systems—we are working with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) to pilot test a food waste anaerobic digestion system for the Air Force Academy.

 
The Air Force Academy’s demonstration plant will be the first to exclusively use food waste to determine the effectiveness of converting high-energy wastes into methane. 

The demonstration plant will be the first to exclusively use food waste to determine the effectiveness of converting high-energy wastes into methane. Since military installations produce a significant amount of pre- and post-consumer food waste, as well as cooking oil and grease trap waste, they are ideal candidates for the demonstration. The pilot facility will determine the types and compositions of food waste that can be digested, as well as the optimal conditions for operation and production.

Digesting organic waste to produce energy-rich, renewable biomethane has several environmental and economic benefits. It will reduce the amount of waste going to landfills, produce a high-end energy product to offset energy use, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Estimates indicate that the implementation of organic waste digestion systems at all DoD installations would result in a cost savings of $7.3 million per year.

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U.S. Department of Defense

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