AT&T and Emerson team up to reduce food waste

Technology from AT&T will provide near real-time information for Grind2Energy system.

January 10, 2017

Emerson has turned to Dallas-based AT&T’s Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to advance its Grind2Energy food waste recycling system.

With these new capabilities, St. Louis-based Emerson says it will provide near real-time environmental sustainability information, performance data reporting and data analytics to its customers. This will improve predictive maintenance and visibility to provide remote service. The newly developed IoT technology solution will also streamline tank monitoring analytics and pump-out scheduling coordination.

Grind2Energy was developed for large food waste generators — like supermarkets, hotels, casinos and sports arenas – interested in minimizing their environmental impact and maximizing their operational efficiency. With additional hygienic benefits – no open-air trash bins or leaky compactors – Grind2Energy customers run lean, clean, and green. The system is designed to quickly process food scraps into a liquid slurry that is pumped into an on-site holding tank. Now, with AT&T IoT connectivity, the slurry will be remotely monitored by Emerson, then transported to local anaerobic digestion facilities. The harmful methane will be captured in a controlled environment and converted to renewable energy – not released into the atmosphere.

"With the Grind2Energy system, Emerson has diverted 7,400 tons of food waste from landfills. That's equivalent to 12 million fewer miles driven on the road," says Tim Ferry, group president, Tools & Home Products, Emerson Commercial & Residential. "We plan to roll out hundreds of IoT-connected Grind2Energy systems over the next few years. With AT&T's help, we will be able to better serve our customers with the added IoT capabilities."
With AT&T Global SIMs and IoT solutions, Emerson says it will be able to:

  • Optimize system uptime. With near real-time visibility into every connected piece of equipment, Emerson's customer experience will be much better. Repairs can be made faster, minimizing downtime and perhaps avoiding a customer service call all-together.
  • Improve tank monitoring and pump-out scheduling. Sensors will alert Emerson's local tank service provider when the holding tanks are nearly full, streamlining communication, decreasing wasted fuel from trucks, optimizing pick up scheduling and minimizing costs.
  • Provide customers with near real-time usage & sustainability reports. Grind2Energy customers share powerful messages about the positive impact they are having on the environment by using Grind2Energy. Collecting that data will soon be a whole lot easier, faster and more robust. Before AT&T IoT solutions, Emerson manually pulled system data on-site. This costs a great deal of time and resources and can be inconvenient to customers. Emerson will soon be able to immediately access sustainability reports and share with customers electronically.
  • Leverage data for predictive maintenance. With the help of AT&T M2X and Flow Designer, data will be collected, organized and analyzed. It will predict when equipment needs service and advise customers how to more efficiently use the solution for maximum uptime. In the long-run, Emerson will be able to analyze larger sets of data. They can then predict the amount and quality of food waste material that will be generated by region, further simplifying the supply chain process.
  • Help customers eliminate unnecessary waste and shrinkage. Grind2Energy users will be able to compare system runtime across multiple locations in a chain. As customers become more aware of their waste, they become more efficient at managing their operations.

"Businesses understand the need to blend their sustainability efforts with their goals of continuously improving quality, efficiency and profitability," says Chris Penrose, President, Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our work with Emerson is a great example of how the IoT can help businesses lower costs, gain efficiencies, improve competitive advantage and create a more sustainable world."