Down To Earth: Using Garbage To Generate Electricity

By Briana Bermensolo
March 27, 2013

MARINA, Calif. – Anaerobic digesters are part of a California pilot program — one of the first of its kind in the country — to turn trash into electricity.

Each digester holds food waste and cow manure.

Jeff Lindenthal has spent the past year working with German engineers to bring the technology to Marina.

“The balloon that you see on top of the device here collects the methane, so the methane gas has been accumulating,” said Lindenthal.

When enough methane gas accumulates, the generator turns the gas to electricity.

The Waste Management District is gaining national attention for speeding up nature’s decomposition process.

“For example, we had a whole pumpkin sitting on top of the pile when it went into the digester. When we opened the door, the pumpkin was gone. It was just a pile of seeds left in its place,” said Lindenthal.

240 tons of food waste, every three weeks, 5,000 tons a year that would otherwise end up in landfills.

Each unit generates 100 kilowatt hours of electricity; that’s enough to supply 100 homes on a daily basis. But right now, it’s not being sold because it’s still a pilot program.

This article originally appeared on KION Central Coast News on 3/27/13.

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