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Featured Profile: Chris Costello


Chris Costello

Dr. Christine “Chris” Costello’s work is changing the way we deal with trash.

Each year in the United States, 35 million tons of food is wasted. This wasted food is often dumped in landfills, generating methane gas emissions that significantly impact global warming when it is not captured. Dr. Christine Costello is working toward developing an infrastructure to solve this problem.

Costello’s research objective is three-fold: reduce food waste, make it easy for people to dispose of their food waste so it can be re-used and then generate energy from it.

When food is dumped into a landfill, it not only wastes the food product itself, but also all of the resources that went into making that product: fertilizer, energy to power the mills, gas to power the vehicles transporting the product and others. Costello is focused on optimizing those resources.

Alongside her team, Costello has been tasked with collecting food waste from the University of Missouri’s cafeteria. This waste is taken to their lab and used to develop natural gas that can then be used to generate heating or electricity. Costello’s research will improve the current standards for food waste disposal and foray into developing a readily renewable energy source.

Dr. Chris Costello is a bioengineering research professor in MU’s College of Engineering.

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Related Initiative(s):
Food for the Future