Food Waste-to-Low Carbon Energy Conference

April 27-28, 2016

Rutgers - New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health

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Breaking Down Barriers &
Building Bridges

The United Nations projects that the world population will reach 8.5 billion by 2030 and 9.7 billion by 2050. The challenge to provide food, energy and water to current and future populations is immense because food, energy and water are tightly linked and interdependent:     

  • There is energy embedded in every gallon of water.
  • There is water embedded in every kWh of energy used and every mile travelled.
  • There is water and energy embedded in every calorie of food and fiber produced.

As a result, making decisions and taking action in one area creates direct and indirect impacts in other areas. Therefore, the Food -Energy-Water Nexus concept and its components and relationships need to be well understood to avoid creating additional problems while trying to avoid unintended consequences while trying to solve food, energy and water related problems.

Source: UN World Water Development Report, 2014




Food waste is the largest portion of our waste stream, making up 21% of the material that is discarded. However, only 5% of the food waste generated is recycled.  Converting source separated food waste into clean energy, fertilizer, and organic soil amendments can reduce odor and methane emissions from landfills and can help generate low carbon electricity to displace water intense fossil energy-based electricity.  These technologies are available, and widely used, in other countries to turn this solid waste problem into environmentally and economically sustainable projects.


This conference will share lessons learned from successful food waste-to-energy projects and address the challenges in establishing this industry in New Jersey. Topics will include feedstock quality and availability, conversion technologies, siting options, regulations and policies and generated power and others end product sales.  The goals of the conference will be to inform participants about current state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion (AD) technologies and to identify the steps needed to overcome the barriers to development of a food waste-to-energy industry in NJ. 



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