Oct 16, 2020

University of Illinois at Chicago to Receive $300,000 EPA Grant

The U.S. EPA announced the selection of the University of Illinois at Chicago – Energy Resources Center to receive $300,000 in funding.

university funding

The U.S. EPA announced the selection of the University of Illinois at Chicago – Energy Resources Center to receive $300,000 in funding to help divert food waste from landfills by expanding the use of anaerobic digesters. According to the press release, the program will develop a technical and educational assistance program to aid public water resource recovery facilities and community digesters.

“There are numerous benefits to using anaerobic digesters for managing wasted food, including improving air quality, producing biogas and materials that improve soil health,” said Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede. “The work of the University of Illinois at Chicago and its partners to expand the use of anaerobic digesters will help divert food waste from our landfills and protect the planet.”

This anaerobic digestion funding opportunity is a part of EPA’s efforts and contributions to the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative, a partnership among EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Food and Drug Administration, to reduce food loss and waste through individual and combined federal action.

The project, “Technical Education and Analysis for Community Hauling and Anaerobic Digesters (TEACH AD),” led by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Energy Resources Center, will partner with state agencies, industry experts, water resource recovery facilities and communities, while leveraging the U.S. Department of Energy’s technical assistance outreach programs.

The project is expected to provide at least 20 Anaerobic Digestion Technical Assessments utilizing EPA’s Co-Digestion Economic Analysis Tool (CoEAT) along with other tools, and will provide technical support to facilities and communities evaluating the use of new and existing anaerobic digesters to divert food waste from landfills. Educational assistance will be provided through workshops, training webinars and several anaerobic digestion project profiles.

“The University of Illinois Chicago is excited to help communities and water resource recovery facilities in the Midwest region divert food waste from landfills by providing education and no-cost technical assistance to explore the increased adoption of anaerobic digester and renewable energy biogas technologies,” said Pete Nelson, Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Chicago.

Twelve grants totaling over $3 million were awarded to institutions to support anaerobic digestion in communities. Anaerobic digestion is a strategy included in EPA’s food recovery hierarchy that is preferable to landfilling/incineration because it reclaims valuable resources. Keeping food waste from landfills, such as transforming it into fuel or fertilizer, can save money and reduce environmental impacts.

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