Using Food Waste for Resources

Two MSI PIs are leading a project to create systems that use food waste to create heat, energy, and fertilizer. Associate Professor Bo Hu (Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering) and Associate Professor Timothy LaPara (Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering), both of whom are members of the BioTechnology Institute (BTI), are creating anaerobic digesters that use organic waste to create biogas and solid matter than can be used as fertilizer. The research team is partnering with local food bank Second Harvest Heartland and have developed a pilot-scale system that is being used to test how such systems could reduce the costs from having to discard spoiled food.

Stories about this project can be found on the Office of the Vice President for Research Inquiry blog: Drawing Renewable Resources From Organic Waste and on the BTI’s Gateway website: MnDrive Initiative Helps Second Harvest Heartland Turn Inedible Food Into Useful Products.

Professor Hu uses MSI to support research into microbial, electrochemical, and integrated approaches for environmental remediation. Professor LaPara uses MSI for research into microorganisms in drinking water and sewage.