Constellation, an Exelon Company and a leading competitive retail supplier of power, natural gas, and energy products for homes and businesses across the U.S., has awarded Clarkson a $35,000 grant as a part of their E² Energy to Educate grant program. Constellation awarded $450,000 in grants to 20 hands-on STEM projects. These projects will reach more than 18,000 students in grade 6 through college.
Clarkson’s project is led by Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Stefan Grimberg and Associate Professor of Engineering and the Institute for STEM Education Jan Dewaters. The project is titled “Food-to-Energy: Cross-Fertilizing a K-12/University Partnership to Develop a Resource Recovery Program.”
Food waste is a valuable resource, yet Americans discard 40 million tons in landfills annually. Anaerobic digesters easily treat food waste to recover energy and produce material that can be used as fertilizer, as long as the food waste stream is void of contamination. Through a partnership between Clarkson and the public K-12 school in Canton, New York, this project will help train more than 60 college students and teach more than 375 K-12 students the benefits of resource recovery and the need to reliably generate a “contaminant free” organic feedstock for resource recovery.
Through this project, college students will develop and deliver classroom activities and mentor K-12 students in a newly created resource recovery program at the school. Post-consumer food waste will be collected from the school cafeteria and delivered to Clarkson’s anaerobic digester at a nearby farm. Teachers will also be educated through workshops so that the program can continue for years to come, and even used as a model for other schools. Clarkson students will also create and implement a similar program on the Clarkson campus.