Marin Turns Food Scraps Into Energy

Posted: 03/26/2014  browse the blog archive
Marin Turns Food Scraps Into Energy

The Bay Area successfully launched a food recycling program that turns leftover plant matter into renewable energy, reported the Marin Independent Journal earlier this week.  The Marin program, led by the Marin Sanitary Service and Central Marin Sanitation Agency, was in development for six years before its launch this week.

Each day, restaurant workers place food waste in special carts that are picked up by Marin Sanitary Service drivers.  The scraps are delivered to the Marin Sanitary Service and ground up into one-inch pieces, then trucked to the Central Marin Sanitation Agency.  Upon arrival, they are dumped into a large vat and combined with collected fats, oils, and grease.  That mixture is pumped through the agency’s anaerobic digesters, where bacteria break down the mixture into methane gas and biosolids.  The resulting methane gas is used to power the agency’s generator, while leftover biosolids are used as landfill cover and will eventually be sold as compost.

Currently, the program diverts 20 tons of food waste each week, with the eventual goal of diverting 20 tons of food each day.  There are 35 restaurants and vendors currently involved with the program, including Whole Foods, United Markets, Scotty’s Market, and Marin Country Mart.  Marin Sanitary Service and Central Marin Sanitation Agency hope to eventually work with 120 restaurants and food vendors and sell the extra energy back to the grid.

The Chanler Group is actively engaged in the review and analysis of incentive-based renewable energy programs to determine potential benefits to our clients.  Global energy consumption continues to increase each year and, with this increase, the demand for safe, clean, and unlimited energy is on the rise.  The Federal and State governments promote this interest through a variety of financially-beneficial incentives.  Our understanding of these laws allows us to guide homeowners, businesses, and/or developers through the various ways to take advantage of these incentive-based benefits.  With the appreciation that renewable energy laws and regulations are constantly changing, The Chanler Group is committed to investing in its understanding and practice of this area of law.