by Leighton Morrison
To begin this presentation, I would like to look at natural processes to better explain what is happening as waste is digested in the Muncher®. When I was told ESS had invented a mechanical aerobic digester with a one-hour conversion time I immediately wanted to talk with ESS. I tried to poke holes in the process but could not. After working with and around the Muncher® it became very clear that Moe had accomplished what I believed impossible. In nature most living things digest anaerobically. The two examples of aerobic digestion that occurred to me were winter thaws that flood waterways with organic matter and the forest floor, but neither do it in less than one hour.
Humanity has created various ways to aerobically digest through composting but the labor, water, equipment and footprint needed do not come close to ESS’ solution-driven system. It could take Nature up to 2 years for soil food web organisms to create an output as rich as the one produced by the Muncher®.
Additionally, composting of food waste creates additional problems – bad odors, pathogen creation, and production of methane and volatilized ammonia.
I attribute the ability of the Muncher® to accomplish this feat by bio-mimicry with the additional use of of mechanical components to speed up digestion.
The process begins by grinding material from coarse to extremely fine particulates, which are then suspended in the column of fluid. This is one of the keys.
The second key is the use of a customized suite of bacteria known to have high performance capabilities in solubilizing, degrading and decomposing organic material. The Muncher® maintains the perfect environment for these organisms to hit their genetic potential. It’s generically known as solid-state fermentation or enhanced digestion. The more the finely ground organic matter is added, the more this process accelerates. This results in incredibly fast digestion. Once the biology (it is not just the bacteria at this point because endophytic fungi have taken a more significant role) has converted the waste stream into effluent the bio bed goes back to homeostasis until more waste is added. A portion of the effluent is in an ionic form, which is easily absorbed through the cell walls and explains why the biology can divide and grow at such an explosive rate and then go back to stasis once the ions useful to these bacteria are no longer available.
Converting organic waste into energy requires a huge capital investment just to enter into permitting and obtaining the permission to actually begin construction can take years. The equipment is extremely expensive, generally has a large footprint and is costly to maintain. Certain types have the potential to explode. In addition, this doesn’t include negotiating a power purchase agreement or the cost of that infrastructure.
ESS has the answer to all these issues and the Muncher®’s footprint is miniscule when compared to an anaerobic digester’s. The output of the Muncher® is presently referred to as MJ. The output can be separated into solids to be pelletized if desired or as is for direct application on all plants from turf to high value crops
MJ has an extremely beneficial effect on soil. Its effects on soil are that it provides bacteria that build aggregates, which are the foundation of a functional soil system. Aggregates allow for water infiltration and storage in the aggregates themselves. Aggregation allows for gas exchange, for oxygen to feed biology and for CO2 to escape to feed the plant life above. Aggregation also allows for the nutrient cycling system to function and MJ contains flagellates, amoebae and ciliates which convert minerals stored in the bacteria to plant available forms.
MJ contains ionic forms of minerals which were not consumed in the process, and which are biologically available to all biology and plants when applied in situ. MJ also contains nutrients in a highly stable form, which enables them to function as a slow release fertilizer.
MJ also has been shown to contain plant hormones, plant growth promoters and regulators. MJ also makes organic acids, which the biology and plants can take directly into their cells and use to fold proteins for a number of biological functions.
MJ has demonstrated the ability to completely digest glyphosate and THC. The bacteria used by ESS have also demonstrated the ability to convert heavy metals and other environmental toxins in to a non-bioavailable state.
In the fall of 2023, ESS is partnering with a soil group in NYC to document the effects after application of MJ on various documented Brown Fields (superfund sites or polluted areas) and also with a research group to document MJ’s effect on corn in a greenhouse trial.