Many food processing plants in New York State generate large volume waste streams with a wide variety of physical and chemical properties. With greater environmental regulation and increasing fees for municipal sewer and solid waste disposal, additional innovative ‘disposal’ methods for these wastes need to be developed. One attractive alternative is to use the food processing waste as feedstock for a waste-to-energy conversion process comprising two distinct systems, namely waste-to-fuel and fuel-to-energy. The fuel can either be sold to generate revenue, or converted on-site to electrical or thermal energy to offset the plant power requirements. In this study, the technical viability and economic benefit of applying waste-to-energy solutions to a diverse selection of companies producing milk, cheese, beer, and tofu were assessed. Depending upon the volumes and composition of the available waste streams (including analysis of sugar content, biological oxygen demand, etc.) there may be a compelling business case to utilize the food waste as feedstock for ethanol, biodiesel or methane-rich biogas production.

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