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Potential for energy generation from anaerobic digestion of food waste in Australia

Lou, X.F., Nair, J. and Ho, G. (2013) Potential for energy generation from anaerobic digestion of food waste in Australia. Waste Management & Research, 31 (3). pp. 283-294.

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Published national and state reports have revealed that Australia deposits an average of 16 million Mg of solid waste into landfills yearly, of which approximately 12.6% is comprised of food. Being highly biodegradable and possessing high energy content, anaerobic digestion offers an attractive treatment option alternative to landfilling. The present study attempted to identify the theoretical maximum benefit of food waste digestion in Australia with regard to energy recovery and waste diversion from landfills. The study also assessed the scope for anaerobic process to utilize waste for energy projects through various case study scenarios. Results indicated anaerobic digestion of total food waste generated across multiple sites in Australia could generate 558 453 dam3 of methane which translated to 20.3 PJ of heating potential or 1915 GWe in electricity generation annually. This would contribute to 3.5% of total current energy supply from renewable sources. Energy contribution from anaerobic digestion of food waste to the total energy requirement in Australia remains low, partially due to the high energy consumption of the country. However its appropriateness in low density regions, which are prevalent in Australia, may allow digesters to have a niche application in the country.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd
Copyright: © The Author(s) 2013
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