Cleveland Browns go green
The Cleveland Browns has teamed with Quasar Energy Group, Dairy Management Inc., Ohio State University and Insinkerator to turn food waste from Cleveland’s First Energy Stadium into renewable energy and organic fertilizer.
The anaerobic digestion (AD) project was highlighted on November 24 during a Browns’ home game and will prevent 3.5 short tons of food waste from the reaching the landfill. The waste, which is food leftover from feeding more than 73,000 fans, will be ground, turned into a slurry and piped into a 2,500-gallon tank.
Sports teams and venues have great potential to implement Insinkerator’s Grind2Energy technology due to their extensive food service operations and the challenges of handling a high volume of food waste, explains Caroline Henry, vice president of marketing at Quasar. Many sports teams, like the Browns, have shown themselves to be on the forefront by understanding their impact and seeking out creative and economical sustainability projects, she added.
The process works by collecting and feeding food scraps into the Grind2Energy equipment at First Energy Stadium. The system is an industrial scale version of garbage disposals Insinkerator has in homes across the U.S. The waste is ground up, mixed with water and stored in a tank at the stadium. Quasar’s trucks are notified when the tanks are near capacity and the slurry is transported from the stadium to one of the regional AD sites. From there, the produced biogas can be used to generate electricity, natural gas or fuel for motor vehicles.
Using AD technology in a sports arena setting is relatively novel and presented a training opportunity for the partners involved. From the beginning of the project, Quasar and its partners incorporated the Browns operational, food service and janitorial staff to educate and engage the right stakeholders, said Garret Scheibel, account executive at Quasar. Insinkerator provided its engineering and operational experience to individually train the Browns staff on operating the grinding system effectively and efficiently during game week preparations, game day operations and even post-game clean up, he added.
The First Energy Stadium was the first arena project for Quasar and they are looking forward to announcing similar initiatives with other sports stadiums, Henry said.