Disney World is a place of magic and wonder, but it’s also a land of fast-food outlets and a lot of waste production. So it’s great to know that they have addressed this by installing a new biogas plant run by Harvest Power. Whilst not as glamorous maybe, as the Magic Kingdom or Epcot, and off limits to the public, the facility is using a magic all of it’s own to turn 350 tonnes of food waste, per day into energy for the park.
All the bits of burger, lettuce, buns and tomatoes are feed into the plant from selected outlets and broken down/eaten by naturally occurring micro-organisms. The by-product of the process is the production of carbon dioxide and methane, or biogas.
The biogas is then piped a short distance to run locomotive-sized generators, as well as being burnt by Harvest Power to produce electricity where eventually the biogas will serve rides, hotels and other needs at the Disney property.
Based in Massachusetts and established in 2008, Harvest Power has 40 operations in North America that perform some version of converting table scraps, restaurant grease, out-of-date supermarket produce, deli goods and yard waste into energy, fertilizer and mulch.
The Disney location is the most advanced, looks sort of like a refinery and cost more than $30 million.
“The Florida operation is profitable, and as we build the fertilizer business, it will be more profitable,” comments Chief Executive Kathleen Ligocki. The plant will process over 120,000 tons of organic material per year and produce 5.4 megawatts of combined heat and electricity, which is equivalent to fuelling 2,000 Florida homes.
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