Having obtained her Ph.D on 19 March from Wageningen University, Kirsten Steinbusch found a new method of turning organic waste into energy, which can be used to produce biodiesel. Her method uses ‘volatile fatty acids, formed when microbes break down the waste. Apparently, it stinks like you wouldn’t believe. However, Steinbuch was able to apply micro-organisms and some hard chemistry to transform them into biodiesel.’
The process Steinbusch has developed provides more energy than burning green waste or extracting methane gas through fementation. “Extracting energy from green waste is sustainable, but it has to be energy efficient; you should not have to put more energy into it than comes out of it”, Steinbusch explains. Her approach doesn’t need any land or crops and has no negative impact on food production.