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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Accelerating the Deployment of Anaerobic Digestion to Meet Zero Waste Goals.

  • Author(s): Satchwell, AJ
  • Scown, CD
  • Smith, SJ
  • Amirebrahimi, J
  • Jin, L
  • Kirchstetter, TW
  • Brown, NJ
  • Preble, CV
  • et al.

The U.S. places approximately 53% of its total municipal solid waste (MSW) in landfills, but state and local governments across the country are now setting ambitious environmental and waste diversion policies requiring, among other things, diversion and utilization of organics. Municipalities across the U.S. are employing anaerobic digestion (AD) as part of their strategy to divert organic MSW from landfills, produce biogas, and yield other beneficial coproducts such as compost and fertilizer. However, AD faces many technical, regulatory, and economic barriers to greater deployment, including upstream waste contamination, local odor and air pollution concerns, lengthy siting and permitting processes, and requirements and sizable costs for interconnecting to the electric grid. We identify a combination of scientific, operational, and policy advancements that are needed to address these barriers.

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