Got milk? Convert it into biofuel
Researchers tap organic waste as a source of energy production
MSNBC, March 24, 2008

"There’s no use crying over spilled milk in Japan. Not when it can be
converted into biogas.

As the alternative energy movement picks up steam, researchers are
increasingly looking to their local communities for tons of organic
waste that could be transformed into more environmentally friendly
biofuels. At the Nigata Institute of Technology in Kashiwazaki, Japan,
that mindset has spurred scientists to give new life to spoiled milk.

With mountains of discarded food slated for landfills or incinerators,
however, researchers are discovering that a little ingenuity can turn
the world's abundant garbage into a whole lot of power.

Waste-derived biogases such as hydrogen and methane can be fed into
turbines to generate electricity and heat, compressed to power fuel
cells, or concentrated into a form of natural gas.

With a friend whose company transports spoiled milk to a local
incinerator, Masayuki Onodera (an associate professor of applied
chemistry and biotechnology at Nigata Institute of Technology) hit upon
the idea of diverting the cargo and putting some of the curdled cow
juice to good use by producing biogas.

Using the same technology, Onodera hopes to harness the power of other
school lunch castaways, whether pushed-aside carrots, detested peas, or
his own son’s nemesis, the tomato. The nearby presence of one of the
world’s largest nuclear power plants has presented another unexpected
bounty that might be similarly harvested: rotting jellyfish.

Dr. Ann C. Wilkie                          Tel: (352)392-8699
Soil and Water Science Department          Fax: (352)392-7008
University of Florida-IFAS
P.O. Box 110960                         E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Gainesville, FL 32611-0960
Campus location: Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (Bldg. 246).
BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology Society