(753c) Map of Our Scrap: A GIS-Based Analysis on the Potential of Food Wastes for Bioenergy Production

Fortela, D. L., University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Zappi, M., University of Louisiana at Lafayette
The growth of our cities has been accompanied by the inevitable production of wastes. With the continuous increase in the amount of our wastes, their utilization has been initiated all over the world. One of the attractive utilization feedstock is food waste (FW) due to the capability of communities to segregate and direct this waste vector to established conversion technologies such as anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion produces biogas consists of methane (CH4), hydrogen (H2), and carbon dioxide (CO2), which are high energy-density chemicals. The digestion of food wastes typically produce 0.198 kWh/kg food waste [1]. As of now, the best sites for the installation of biogas-to-power turbine-generators are wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) [2]. The transport of FW to WWTPs, however, consumes fuel, which may be counter-productive to a waste-to-energy initiative.

This work evaluated the energy balance associated with the digestion of food wastes at a nearest WWTP transported from the following key sources: supermarkets, hospitals, restaurants, colleges, and schools, using geographical information system (GIS) platform. The study area was Lafayette, Louisiana. The analysis was done in QGIS (Version 2.18, a.k.a. Las Palmas).

The preliminary results support the following inferences.

  • This GIS-based analysis for the potential of FW as feedstock for bioenergy production showed the need for additional organic wastes to be combined with FW to possibly increase the power generation of WWTP-based biogas-to-energy turbine generators.
  • Wastewater sludges produced in significant amount during water treatment in WWTPs are viable candidate organic wastes that may significantly increase biogas production. These sludges do not require transportation, hence, omitting the energy expenditure through transportation fuel.
  • FWs from restaurants may significantly increase the potential bioenergy production, which may supply a utility-scale (1 MW) power plant in the city.

This city case study may be adopted to a state-wide analysis to evaluate the bioenergy potential of FW via anaerobic digestion for the state of Louisiana, USA.


[1] Moriarty, K. (2013) Feasibility study of anaerobic digestion of food waste in St. Bernard, Louisiana. NREL, Doc. TP-7A30-57082

[2] Report: Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (2002) Identification, Characterization, and Mapping of Food Waste and Food Waste Generators In Massachusetts