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Michigan State University

MSU is pursuing a new source of renewable energy that turns waste created on campus into electricity. The anaerobic digester project leveraged research, operations, and students to develop a business plan for a commercial scale digester on campus that will produce 0.5 megawatts of the 61.4 megawatts of campus electrical demand.

The new digester eats food waste from campus dining halls—as well as farm waste—which is then heated at high temperatures to produce methane gas that generates electricity to power buildings on south campus while reducing the amount of food waste that ends up in a landfill. The byproduct of the process—a nutrient-rich mixture of digestate—can then be used to fertilize croplands at MSU.

Learn more and view video, left.

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The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum is launching a new annual residency program for artists whose work addresses land use, food, and urban development, with a focus on sustainability.

Drawing on MSU’s history as a land-grant university and its strong commitment to education and global engagement, “The Land Grant: Art, Agriculture, Sustainability” program will support projects that educate the public and catalyze grassroots remedies to global challenges, offering an artistic approach to “thinking globally and acting locally.” Participants will have access to thought leaders across university departments as they develop projects and acres of university land.

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New Solutions for a Renewable Future

Every day, Spartans work to find solutions to big challenges facing individuals and communities around the globe. Close to home, Michigan State is addressing how to reliably meet the university’s growing energy needs while reducing negative impacts of power generation on the environment.

Guided by a new Energy Transition Plan, MSU is preparing for its energy future by using greener, more sustainable solutions to power the 5,200-acre campus. The plan recently adopted by MSU’s Board of Trustees moves the university toward its long-term goal of 100 percent renewable energy.

The anaerobic digester at MSU will create a closed cycle for recycling organic material and generating renewable energy. Video and artwork by Michael Tetrick, MSU Physical Plant

While MSU works toward generating or reliably purchasing energy from renewable resources, it also is using “bridge” technologies. With no silver bullet source of energy, the university is using and developing a number of sustainable energy sources, including solar panel arrays, a geothermal heating system, and a new anaerobic digester.

Learn more by viewing MSU’s Energy Transition Plan.

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