Calling All Creative Thinkers: Need Smart Ways to Create Energy in Order to Protect Health

By path2positive

Desperate times call for desperate measures and, given the state of our global climate, it seems we need to dig deep to create a viable and sustainable way to power our communities. Health professionals regularly witness the effects of climate change and dirty energy sources on their patients; from asthma attacks to heat stroke, allergies to mental health impacts.

Coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear certainly do not offer us the picture of health we have in mind for our future. Now it seems some creative thinkers in Colorado have put their thinking caps on. You know all of that food waste Americans throw away each day? (A disgusting one third of all of the food we purchase.) Well, what if we could use that for energy? Now that would be inventive. NPR reports below on how a new facility called the Heartland Biogas Project is taking wasted food from Colorado's densely populated areas and turning it into electricity.

Of course, this solution isn't perfect. "Making renewable energy from food that can't be eaten is admirable," says EPA recycling expert Virginia Till. "But the best thing to do with wasted food is to feed people."

So we're still far from finding the silver bullet for our clean energy needs, but, when we think creatively and collaborate, we'll undoubtedly wind up heading in the right direction.

How Colorado Is Turning Food Waste Into Electricity

The Salt, A Program of National Public Radio

By Luke Runyon I April 5, 2016

Americans throw away about a third of our available food.

But what some see as trash, others are seeing as a business opportunity. A new facility known as the Heartland Biogas Project is taking wasted food from Colorado's most populous areas and turning it into electricity. Through a technology known as anaerobic digestion, spoiled milk, old pet food and vats of grease combine with helpful bacteria in massive tanks to generate gas.

I went to check out the facility. It's located on a rural road in northern Colorado, situated a stone's throw from big beef cattle feedlots and dairy farms and a short drive from the state's populous, waste-generating urban core.

Follow your nose to know you're in the right place. There's no way around it: The place stinks. The odor is a mix of cow poop and expired produce.

"Yeah, there's a lot of good smell around here," says Scott Pexton, with A1 Organics, a composting company that runs the food waste portion of the plant.

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