Earth Bio Technologies (EBtech), a company located in Glenside, PA has become the only distributor in the area to offer two decomposition technologies for food waste. The first is a machine that converts food waste to liquids by the use of microbes. This liquid is then safe to go down drains. The second technology is a generator that uses waste cooking oil to produce power and hot water.
The organic waste decomposition system was developed in South Korea and comes in three sizes. The largest system can decompose 1,200 pounds of food waste in 24 hours. The large system is $45,000; however it is also available for rent. Both the Pennsylvania Convention Center and Citizens Bank Park have installed these systems. Douglas Horner, EBtech’s managing partner, claims the system enables large food-service kitchens to reduce money spent on food waste removal by 25 to 40 percent.
The liquid produced by the system can then be used as fertilizer, an application that Rutgers University and Caldwell College are considering. Other customers that utilize the system include Shop-Rite, the Cheesecake Factory, the University of San Diego, and Glacier National Park in Montana.
The generator system known as the Vegawatt can also help reduce hauling costs as well as saving money on electricity and hot water. The Vegawatt is available in five sizes, with the smallest requiring 30 gallons of waste oil a week to continuously produce 4 kilowatts of power. The largest produces 12 kilowatts of power on 150 gallons of waste oil per week. The systems range in price from $25,000 to $64,000 and can also be leased. Horner says the Vegawatt can provide around 20 to 30 percent of the power used by a restaurant.
The Vegawatt received the 2010 Kitchen Innovations Award from the National Restaurant Association. Facilities that could benefit from this technology include supermarkets, hospitals, event centers, retirement facilities, hotels with large banquet areas, big sports bars, and fast food restaurants. EBtech has installed a Vegawatt at its headquarters in Glenside for demonstration purposes. The company powers its office with fuels from fryer oils collected from its customers’ facilities.