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Clarkson University Students Design & Operate Innovative Food Production, Waste Management Facility

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Uploaded on Jan 10, 2012

Food production and managing food wastes are not typical components of an engineering education. But students at Clarkson University are diverting food waste from school dining facilities through an anaerobic digester to create heat, electricity and a nutrient rich fertilizer that are used in a high-tech greenhouse they designed and built to grow leafy greens year round in our climate.

The 650 sq. ft. greenhouse is designed to grow produce in northern climates limited by cold and dark winters. Its internal heating, LED lighting, and water and plant growth systems are designed to maximize plant growth while limiting fossil fuel energy inputs. The state-of-art aeroponic growing system uses only a small fraction of the water and nutrient inputs required by other greenhouse growing operations. The greenhouse system is integrated with a biomass-solar thermal heating system and an anaerobic digester for cafeteria waste to create a closed-loop, energy efficient and zero-waste system that contributes to Clarkson's sustainability efforts.

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