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Sustainable View

UC Davis harnesses power of waste

Biodigester was developed with technology created by one of university's professors
University Business, July 2014
UC Davis' $8.5 million biodigester will provide an annual 5.6 million kilowatt hours to the campus
UC Davis' $8.5 million biodigester will provide an annual 5.6 million kilowatt hours to the campus

Food, yard and animal waste at University of California, Davis is being converted into energy by a biodigester that’s the largest of its kind on a college campus.

The $8.5 million facility, unveiled on Earth Day, will provide an annual 5.6 million kilowatt hours to the campus. That’s enough to power 800 California homes, says Sid England, assistant vice chancellor of environmental stewardship and sustainability.

The biodigester—which will divert about 20,000 tons of waste from landfills each year—is owned and operated by a private company, but some of the basic technology was developed by UC Davis professor Ruihong Zhang.

The next largest campus biodigester, at University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, produces about 2.3 million kilowatt hours per year, England says.

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