It seems that we have indeed traveled back to the future on the UC Davis Campus; bananas are now fueling more than flux capacitors to power a time traveling DeLorean.
History was made yesterday when the first Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester (READ) was unveiled on the campus of UC Davis just in time for Earth Day. CleanWorld was chosen as the partner company to take this process to the commercial arena.
Almost a decade ago, inventor Dr. Ruihong Zhang, a UC Davis professor of biological and agricultural engineering, began to explore viable quantities of waste that could be used to generate as much renewable energy as possible. The process that Zhang developed uses bacteria to convert waste to methane that is then converted to electricity.
The facility, comprised of four large tanks, sits on the closed landfill on the UC Davis campus. Within a single acre, the operation—including a Capstone C800 Microturbine commissioned by San Juan Capistrano-based Regatta Solutions—has the capacity to process 50 tons of waste per day.
Steve Acevedo, president of Regatta Solutions, noted, “We celebrate the ingenuity of this project that was conceived within a great California institution and brought to commercial market with a pioneering company like CleanWorld. We are proud to have assisted with the application engineering and commissioning of the Capstone C800 Microturbines that are a part of the Organic Rankin Cycle assisting in the waste heat conversion.”
The waste needed for the digester is gathered from the campus and other local retailers. Zhang says that the ideal waste is highly biodegradable plant matter that bacteria can easily thrive on.
CleanWorld and UC Davis hope to take this technology to other campuses and facilities across the country and globe. With greenhouse gas emission and fuel sources topping the policy dialogue, this solution has the potential to have mass impact, all while using a product we normally toss out daily.
The movie Back to the Future and Doc were really onto something with the banana peel fuel concept. Now about that flying car and hoverboard…