Closing the loop at The Plant

Anaerobic digestion is the process where micro organisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. An anaerobic digester re-uses waste products in order to produce biogas fuels that provide an energy sources for heating and electricity. The digester is the main component in a closed loop food production system in use at The Plant which is a net zero energy vertical farm located in the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago. The Plant features an aquaponic system of tilapia and vegetables where the nitrates from the tilapia waste is filtered and fed to the plant material growing in a hydroponic system. The water is cleansed by the plant material and re-circulated back to the fish tanks. The Plant encourages sustainable food businesses to take up residence in the former meatpacking building as long as the business will be inter-connected within the loop. Waste from one business provides food for another.
Or one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

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2 Responses to Closing the loop at The Plant

  1. kroltsch says:

    So just to clarify, the tilapia waste is digested anaerobically before being applied to plants? Does all animal waste need to be treated before being used at fertilizer?

  2. ksorich says:

    No the waste is filtered with the nitrates going to the plants and the rest of the waste to the digester.

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