Food Scraps & Biofuel – A Creative Way in Biofuel Generation

Last month, my team and I had a class presentation about the generation of biofuel and how it is a better alternative to fossil fuel as energy usage. Biofuel mostly comes from the burning of wood waste such as tree branches and wood materials from construction sites. However, there are other sources of biofuel as well. As I was browsing through the GOOD website, I found this article that talks about using fruit and vegetable compost such as banana peels, apple cores and lettuce leaves among others as an alternative source for biofuel.

This project is announced by the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuggart, Germany. The idea is to use microorganisms to transform food scraps to methane gas. A key challenge that the laboratory currently faces is the different acidity levels of the food produce. An orange peel’s acidity is different from a lettuce leaf; therefore, facility managers have to adjust the pH system accordingly in order for the microorganisms to do their magic.

I find that the use of food scraps as an alternative source of biofuel is creative. Companies are so used to using the usual sources of wood, manure, and crops that sometimes they forget other sources such as food scraps, which are things that are more related to an average person’s everyday scrap.

What’s also unique about Fraunhofer’s project is the adaptability of all other components the project generates besides the biogas:

Making methane releases carbon dioxide and waste liquid, both of which are captured and used to nourish the 21 century’s hippest organism: algae, another feedstock for biofuel. And the only waste product, a “sludgy fermentation residue,” is shipped to another lab in Switzerland where it’s made into even more methane.

It is great that the institute had thought about the waste products that the biofuel generation produces and how they can dispose them or use them in other ways. Their sustainable action and forward-thinking had helped them stand out from other laboratories and companies finding new and creative ways of generating biofuel.



Vancouver Convention Centre – Architecture & Sustainability

After my team and I did a presentation on Environmental and Global Trends and featured the Vancouver Convention Centre – West building as a certified platinum LEED building, I decided that I should go and check it out. I’ve always admired the Convention Centre from the inside and saw how cool and artistic the architecture is and the art paintings it has. This time around, I looked at the building from the outside, stood up on a higher platform and finally saw the green roof on top of the West Building of the Convention Centre. It is amazing how our society continues to adapt to sustainable trends and practices around the globe.

Vancouver Convention Centre Green Roof

So what has Vancouver Convention Centre done to make it LEED Certified?

  • Recycling Program: the VCC recycles 180,000 kg of materials annually. This includes batteries, wood, metal, glass, plastic, among others.
  • Sustainable Food Program: the VCC uses local food ingredients without additives and its “Happy Earth” menu consists of certified organic and free-range food options and it also encourages its food suppliers to use reusable containers to deliver their products.
  • Energy Conservation Program: the VCC has achieved several certificates for their energy conservation practices. The BC Hydro designated the VCC as a Power Smart Convention Centre after converting to energy-efficient lighting, HVAC and energy control systems
  • Design Features: the VCC’s West building features a marine habitat, an advanced drainage water and recovery system and a seawater heating and cooling system. The water collected from the drainage system is used for irrigation during the summer months. Its six acre green roof has more than 400 indigenous plants and grasses on top of four beehives.

Other LEED certified buildings in Canada include the Richmond Olympic Oval in Richmond, Stratus Winery in Ontario, and the Vancouver Island Technology Park in Victoria.