Duquesne MBAs Intend to Power Pittsburgh like Doc Powered the DeLorean: W2E!

In “Back to the Future II” (1989), Doc raids Marty’s garbage and turns it into fuel for his DeLorean.  No longer science fiction, converting waste to energy (W2E) is the absolute cutting edge of renewable fuel in the United States, and it could be coming to Pittsburgh soon.

For our first consulting project, we are collaborating with quasar energy group to explore feasibility and public-private partnerships for turning bio-waste into energy.  On a rainy day in late October, our MBA Sustainability class, accompanied by several professors and graduate students from Duquesne’s environmental science program, took a trip to Wooster, Ohio.  Why Wooster, you ask? Wooster is home to quasar’s partner, Ohio State’s agricultural institute, and their flagship anaerobic digester facilities that turn bio-waste into energy.

Anaerobic digestion technology provides clean, renewable energy for our homes and cars. The process takes organic waste and breaks it down in the absence of oxygen to harvest the energy insides.  When forty percent of food produced in America ends up in a landfill, this technology aims to provide an alternative.[1] The opportunity is huge:  In just the 2nd quarter of 2015, Allegheny County sent almost 407,000 tons of waste to the landfill![2]

We are ecstatic to be tackling such a massive problem. As one student named Mark said, “Coming from the energy field, I am really looking forward to working with anaerobic digestion technology to help find renewable solutions to our country’s energy issues.”

“Doc needs fuel” clip:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HYoq6vIVXc


[1] NRDC Issue Paper – Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40% of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill.
[2] “Municipal Waste Disposal Information.” Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bureau of Waste Management. 11 Aug, 2015. Web. 30 Oct, 2015.
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