BAR HARBOR, Maine — College of the Atlantic was one of three New England institutions to receive a competitive grant from the Environmental Protection Administration. The $15,000 grant will enable the college to continue to explore the possibility of turning food waste into a resource for liquid fuel or biogas by fermenting the sugars in the waste.
The idea, said COA faculty member Dr. Ryan Bouldin, is to explore technologies that find treasure in trash. It began with student Nicholas Harris, a 2012 graduate. Working with classmate Matthew McElwee, Harris launched a multidisciplinary project he called Gourmet Butanol, exploring the business and scientific possibilities of turning food waste into fuel. Bouldin, working in chemistry and mathematics, was the principle investigator on the project for the EPA program. The team worked to develop a simplified method to pre-treat food waste for efficient fermentation that could produce liquid fuel, butanol and other alcohol fuels for purposes ranging from drop-in replacements for gasoline to agricultural amendments.
The college is using the $15,000 from the grant, known as the National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet, to purchase the equipment necessary for the process.
For information, visit www.coa.edu.