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The AERS at Gills Onions converts 100% of their 150 tons of daily onion waste into enough energy to power 460 homes annually!

Did you know tips

Smart Tips

August 26, 2009

Onion Fuel

Onions may make you cry,
But they can be a fuel supply.
Onion juice ferments you see,
Waste becomes energy!

Crying All the Way to the Bank

In Oxnard, California, Gills Onions, a national onion processor and distributor, has constructed an Advanced Energy Recovery System (AERS) that converts 100% of their onion waste into ultra-clean renewable energy and a high-value cattle feed. The AERS creates enough methane biogas to power two onsite 300-kilowatt fuel cells, which operate the plant's refrigeration units and lighting.

  • Like a Big Stomach: Juice extracted from onion waste is sent to ferment in an anaerobic digester that contains bacteria from an Anheuser-Busch beer brewery. The bacteria feast on the carbohydrates in the fermenting juice and produce combustible methane gas.
  • Cost Savings: The AERS provides annual savings of $700,000 in electricity costs, $400,000 in disposal costs, and has lead to more than $3 million in government and power company incentives.
  • GHG Reductions: The AERS eliminates up to 30,000 tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions per year.
  • Waste-To-Energy: Gills Onions is one of many companies using their biomass waste to create energy. Other types of biomass waste employed include animal manure, vegetable oil, whey, municipal solid waste, and industrial wastes.

Check It Out

LA Times Story "Onions Produce Tears and Energy at an Oxnard Plant":

Gills Onions Website:

More on Biogas Technology & Anaerobic Digestion:



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