Rapid population growth, urbanization, improved living standards and a shift in the consumption patterns have accordingly escalated the intensity of waste generation. The 2012 World Bank report on solid waste estimated the annual municipal solid waste generation at 1.3 billion tons per year with a projection of over a 40% increase in the annual generation rate by 2025 and a 300% increase by 2100 worldwide. Nearly half of the generated municipal solid waste is organic, including food wastes. About 30% of the food produced annually is wasted at different stages along the food supply chain before human consumption. Kitchens serving the food needs of The American University in Cairo’s New campus haven’t performed any different in their yield of food waste, with on campus kitchens producing up to 150kg of food waste, mainly a composition of fruit and vegetable waste daily. Agricultural development mainly driven by extensive mechanization, continued incentivization and growing demand for food on the other hand is also a significant organic waste generator. Recent data estimates the annual production of agricultural waste at close to 1000 million tons. Animal and poultry wastes in form of manure have been reported by different researchers for their negative environmental impacts resulting from their direct application in agriculture or mismanagement, raising concern over possible alternative means of sustainable management. Anaerobic digestion stands out as the most viable means of sustainable management thanks to the high moisture content and nutrient composition of the manures. This study carried out in two phases aimed at investigating anaerobic digestion of the American University in Cairo’s kitchen waste, market vegetable waste and animal and chicken manure. In Phase I of the experiment, batch setups of 100% animal manure (A), 100% chicken manure (B), 1:1 animal to chicken manure (C) and 1:4 animal to market vegetable waste (D) were digested for nine weeks. Biogas yield at the end of digestion was 285.33L, 300.54L, 329.95L and 0.00L respectively. Average methane composition in digesters A, B and C was 43.54%, 52.59% and 45.58% respectively. Phase II of the experiment was exclusive to The American University in Cairo’s kitchen waste. Three batch set ups; KW1, KW2 and KW3 of uniform amounts of kitchen waste were prepared. KW1 was inoculated with digested animal manure from A, KW2 with digested chicken manure from B and KW3 inoculated with Chinese bokashi. Results of accumulated biogas yield at the end of a six weeks’ psychrophilic digestion period were in the order KW2 > KW3 > KW1; 498.64L, 284.58L, and 65.54L respectively. Average methane composition was 41.63%, 40.33% and 25.55% in KW3, KW2 and KW1 respectively. Following confirmation of the biological feasibility of anaerobic digestion of the University’s kitchen waste, technical and economic studies make the project even a more daring venture for the university’s engagement. A biogas production project satisfactorily blends into the university’s sustainability goals with the potential to offset up to an equivalent of over 4% of the CO2 emissions from the combustion of natural gas for on campus domestic and lab purposes. The many strengths and opportunities listed in the SWOT analysis of the project make it a viable step towards sustainable development. However, the noted weaknesses and threats demand for close collaboration of the University’s offices overseeing food services, campus sustainability, landscape, and facilities and operation with technical help from the Center for Sustainable Development and the Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment if the project is to come to life.

Degree Name

MS in Sustainable Development

Graduation Date


Submission Date

April 2018

First Advisor

El-Haggar, Salah

Committee Member 1

Galal, Samia


139 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


The Ford Foundation for the African Graduate Fellowship program the office of the dean of graduate studies for the research grant Dr. Salah El Haggar for his heartless support, time and mentorship Dr. Mohamed M. Afifi and Dr. Yehia I. M. Zain for their assistance during the experiments and data analysis