Trash to treasure


We’re out here at the Sustainable
Technologies Outdoor Research Center I’m here today to talk to you about our
composting and vermiculture systems as part of our
aquaponics project. Ultimately the goal here is to be
able to compost, to recycle as much food waste, if not all the food
waste from campus. So, why don’t we take a look at some worms? We use red wigglers, and red wigglers are awesome composting
worms. And see just pull back the bedding here
and they’re all sitting on the top. Red wigglers work really well for composting. Not only do they do well in confined
spaces such as this, but also they’re top-feeders. So they’ll naturally- they’re gonna sit under this bedding here, and they work at the food waste at the
top. We are in the aquaponics hoop house and I’m here to explain aquaponics. So, aquaponics is a sustainable, closed-loop, urban agriculture system. And we combine the vermiculture with the aquaculture. with regular agriculture. We use a fish tank, and this fish tank contains water with fish waste, and we pump this fish waste Through a tube, through the pump into the grow bed, and there’s and natural bacteria that cultivates naturally and it actually turns the
ammonia that the fish produce into nitrite then into nitrate and the plants absorb the nitrate, cleansing the water and using it to grow.
And then that same water is recycled back
into the fish tank to collect more nutrients for the fish and that’s what completes the system. This is where we start, here by adding the waste vegetable oil through the first filter and then it’s pumped in through the secondary filter and then into the reaction chamber where it’s
circulated and heated until it’s at 130 degrees Fahrenheit and then the meth-oxide in this chamber is added in and the heat’s turned off and then that’s circulated and heated for
3 hours. This sets for a day and it’s on the bottom the glycerin settles out-
which you don’t want and the biodiesel is on the top So, you pump out the glycerin through the bottom And you’re left with the biodiesel and then that’s washed a couple of times with water and then the water is pumped out and then you have the biodiesel left.

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