An Integrated Systems Model for Sustainably Managing Dairy and Food Wastes
- Due to recent NY state legislation, approximately 4 million tons of food waste per year will need an alternative to landfilling that would both be environmentally beneficial and economically viable.
- Optimal locations for biorefineries must be determined in order for the process to be economically viable.
The proposed study will estimate the potential of combining renewable energy, dairy, and food waste management systems to maximize resource recovery, increase economic output, and reduce environmental risks within a circular economy. The leveraging of existing AD infrastructure in the state as hubs for expanded biorefining processes. The study will specifically develop and validate a TEA model employing AD-HTL-P2G technologies for converting dairy and food wastes to produce pipeline quality renewable natural gas (RNG) while simultaneously lowering environmental impacts to watersheds and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A key outcome will be a spatially resolved Geographic Information System (GIS) model that locates and sizes biorefineries in NY State to maximize their economic benefits for farmers and municipalities with specified sets of performance, economic and regulatory assumptions.
The cross diciplinary project team at Cornell University includes expertise in measuring kinetic processes of chemically reacting systems using biomass feedstocks, in biological processing, and in the Food-Energy-Water (FEW) nexus.