When we throw food away, it generally ends up in landfills, and this can cause some serious problems. Because of this we are being encouraged to be turning your leftovers into fuel instead.
When food decomposes, bacteria are converting into the form of methane, one of the worst greenhouse gases our there that traps more heat than carbon dioxide. Because methane is also a form of energy this rose the idea among scientists that our leftover food could be turned into fuel and, rather than destroying the planet, help create a solution for the ever growing energy crisis.
The idea behind this is brilliant, but actually implementing it is continuously proving difficult, mostly down to the laziness of people, who would rather just throw everything away than separate food from container and recycle efficiently. Certain regulations have come into place to help this, and as such restaurants and other commercial industries have to recycle at least to a certain degree.
Turning Your Leftovers Into Fuel
The idea is very similar to that of waste sewage treatment systems, it involves putting the food waste into an anaerobic digester and letting bacteria do the work. Usually the product of these is carbon dioxide, but when deprived of oxygen the bacteria produce methane instead. Much more useful to us in terms of fuel. Plants can make this and sell it back to utility companies in the form of heat or electricity, or compressed gas, but this still isn’t the most ideal way of solving the energy crisis.
Ethanol is a much more useful form of energy and can also be created from food waste. They use enzymes to break down the food into basic sugars, and yeast to ferment them into ethanol, working much like a brewery. This method is much more ideal but is still in its early phases, we have mastered producing ethanol from some raw material, but aren’t so good at getting it from general sludgy mix-ups of everything.