3.8 lbs of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) are emitted per lb of Food Waste. Hydrothermal Carbonization (HTC) reactors are 90% efficient at capturing CO2e, which is significantly more efficient than landfills, composing, or anaerobic digestion. Each HTC reactor “digests” 16,666 tons of Food Waste. With 2,000 lbs in every ton, this is 33,332,000 lbs. At 100% sequestration, it would be (33,332,000 x 3.8) = 126,661,600 lbs of CO2e reduction. Given the 90% efficiency (126,661,600 lbs x 90%) = 113,995,440 lbs of CO2e reduction per HTC reactor. In tons this is (113,995,440 lbs / 2,000) = 56,997 tons. With a yield of 5,000 tons of sand. Each ton of sand produced (56,997 CO2e tons / 5,000 tons of sand) = 11.4 tons of CO2e sequestered for every ton of construction sand. This may be the most productive way to sequester CO2e in the world.

A key question to consider is the environmental impact from the energy needed to convert the Food Waste into sand. The use of electricity for this type of initiative has a greenhouse gas (GHG) impact. Each kWh has an emissions average in the U.S. of 0.92 lbs of CO2e per kWh. Each HTC reactor and tumbler needs 3,475,700kWh to process 16,666 tons of Food Waste. The environmental impact is (3,475,700kWh x 0.92 lbs) = 3,197,644 lbs of CO2e. In tons this is (3,197,644 lbs / 2,000 lbs) = 1,599 tons. The percentage is excellent with (1,599 tons / 56,997 tons) = 2.8%. Relative to CO2e the energy “negative” is about 3% of the Food Waste CO2e “positive” for the sequestration. The net CO2e savings is (56,997 tons – 1,599 tons) = 55,398 tons of CO2e sequestered per HTC reactor. Each ton of the resulting sand (55,398 tons / 5,000 tons) = 11.07 tons of CO2e.

Hydrothemal Carbonization (HTC) shows tremendous promise to address the growing challenges of food waste and carbon capture in America and around the world. See:

Economics of Carbon Capture and Credits

There is not a current federal requirement for companies to buy Carbon Credits, bit many private sector accounts are taking the initiative on their own. The U.S. government may also seek to buy carbon credits to offset the massive CO2e emissions that will come from the Infrastructure improvements to roads and bridges as well as the broadband expansion with the electricity cost to run data centers. The market is between $1 and $50 per ton with some private companies like Microsoft paying $400 or more per ton.

The price of carbon offsets varies widely from <$1 per ton to >$50 per ton. The price depends on the type of carbon offset project, the carbon standard under which it was developed, the location of the offset, the co-benefits associated with the project, and the vintage year. Source: