Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



The Missing Link: Chains Are a Smart Move for Tyrolean Food Waste Recycler

New food waste shredder uses chains to boost efficiency.If the experience of one Tyrolean farm in the village of Schlitters, Austria is any indication, food waste recycling is in for a big step up.  The farm just added a biogas plant to its operations, using a new design that can boost methane yields from biogas by 30%.  The secret?  That’s where the missing link comes in.

Food Waste Recycling Starts with a Good Shredding

The farm takes in agricultural waste from around the area, restaurant waste from the tourist industry, and packaged foods that have passed their expiration date.  To handle the mixed food waste, it installed recycling machinery produced by the German company MeWa Recycling, called the Querstromzerspaner, or QZ for short.  Conventional shredding blades are not ideal for mixed food waste, because it contains packaging materials, misplaced cutlery and other non-organic items.  The QZ uses chains to mash the waste instead of slicing it.

Chains Beat Blades for Biogas, Too

The mashing action of the chains has a second benefit, even more important than the first.  Mashed food has a much greater surface area than sliced food, so it provides a more efficient environment for bacteria in biogas production.  According to the manufacturer, the methane gas yield was 30% higher in a conventional blade shredder after it was retrofitted with chains.

Beyond Food Waste Recycling

Composting and biogas production relieve landfills and incinerators from a shocking amount of usable waste.  It’s important to keep in mind, though, that food waste recycling is only the front end of a bigger problem: the scale of overproduction that permits some countries to throw out a significant proportion of their food supply, and the consequent effect on water supply.

Image: Clearly Ambiguous at flickr.

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


You May Also Like

Clean Power

We've mined enormous amounts of iron and coal in order to build infrastructure to extract, process, refine, and distribute fossil fuels, and we're going...

Climate Change

Wucker's work is much more read and attended to in Asia than in the west. Short-termism and individualism has reached its nadir in too...

Clean Power

Electrification and heat pumps radically reduce the requirement to build new wind, solar, nuclear, hydro, and geothermal primary energy sources.


Methanol is like hydrogen. Job one is to decarbonize existing uses before inventing new ones. As a marine fuel, it's not the best choice.

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.