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RIT gets nearly $1 million NSF grant

Rochester Institute of Technology has received a nearly $1 million grant to research managing food waste.

Callie Babbitt, an associate professor in RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability, received the award from the National Science Foundation, university officials said Wednesday.

Babbitt is slated to lead a research team in a five-year project to study how innovative technologies, waste management systems and policies can reduce the volume and environmental impacts of food waste.

The grant will enable RIT researchers to make technological advances in food waste-to-energy conversion systems that are more efficient, cost-effective, environmentally friendly and scalable for a wide range of food waste streams, officials said.

“We know that processes such as anaerobic digestion can convert certain waste streams into bio-methane, which can replace fossil fuel-based natural gas,” Babbitt explained. “But if you want to scale this process up to treat huge volumes of food waste from restaurants, farms and factories, then major technical, economic and environmental improvements are needed.”

The planned scientific advances are expected to spur new industries and jobs in New York, Babbitt said.

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