A new facility is being built in North Salt Lake to turn food waste into energy. It’s the first of a kind in Utah.
Gov. Gary Herbert (R) helped kick off construction on Thursday.
The South Davis Sewer District has teamed up with a company called ALLPRO Energy & Water to build this energy facility that will also make compost.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Americans waste about 40 percent of their food.
“We’re able to capture that food waste and make something beneficial out of it,” says Morgan Bowerman, who’s working on the Wasatch Resource Recovery plant now being built.
She says dozens of local groceries, restaurants, breweries and food manufacturers have already signed up to recycle their food waste here when the plant opens next year.
“We’ll heat it up and that will aid microbial growth,” she says. “And then those microbes will break down the food waste. And, when they break down without oxygen, they off-gas methane. So, these little microbes that already exist, they’re doing all the work for us, really.”
Alan Matheson, director of Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality, says the plant will help clean up the air, land and water.
“This is a project,” he says, “that will take almost a thousand tons a day of materials out of our landfills and turn it into clean, renewable fuels that can fuel our economy and our communities.”
That’s a daily output of millions of cubic feet of methane -- enough energy to power a city the size of Bountiful and to recoup the plant’s cost in energy sales. It’s also methane that won’t be contributing to the pollution blamed for climate change.