China’s public transport fleets could run on kitchen waste

May 03, 2012

Researchers in east China's Zhejiang Province are working on a project that aims to convert kitchen waste into biofuel, according to Xinhua.

The project will not only ease energy shortages, but also reduce environmental pollution by allowing for the proper treatment of large amounts of kitchen waste, according to research team leader Ji Jianbing, a professor at the Zhejiang University of Technology in Hangzhou.

 Ji's team has already figured out how to use bioconversion technology to turn kitchen waste into fuel for automobiles, as well as how to turn leftover material from the conversion process into organic fertilizer.

"Our goal is to create a production line that is able to treat 400 tonnes of waste daily within the next five years," Ji said. This, he added, will produce 24,000 cubic meters of methane and 26 tonnes of bio-diesel for use in buses and taxis.

China's cities produce about 60 million tonnes of kitchen waste every year, which contains an amount of energy equivalent to 4.3 to 6.14 million tonnes of standard coal. Currently, the country can produce at least 300,000 to 500,000 tonnes of bio-diesel from kitchen waste every year to support fishing boats and agricultural machines.

 However, experts said high production cost is a major hurdle to prevent the fledgling industry from further expanding.