Technology Merit: Waste Management

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Harvest Power (Waltham, MA), a processor of organic materials into energy and fertilizer products, for three projects that will altogether generate over 7 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy. First, Harvest's Energy Garden in British Columbia began commissioning in mid-November, a facility that the company describes as the first commercial-scale, high-solids anaerobic digestion system in North America. Second, Harvest's Energy Garden in London, Ontario, also began commissioning and is processing organic waste from food processors at an annual rate of 70,000 tons. Third, Harvest started construction on an Energy Garden in central Florida that will cost-effectively treat municipal biosolids and regional food waste while generating renewable electricity. Harvest currently operates 26 sites in North America and employs 435 people (an increase of more than 200 over 2011). The company manages more than 2 million tons per year of organics and sells more than 28 million bags of soil and mulch annually. Harvest was named to the Global CleanTech 100 list for the third year in a row and won the KPMG 2012 Infrastructure 100 World Cities Edition award. Another notable highlight from 2012 was a successful Series C fundraising round of $125 million total, one of the largest capital raises in recent cleantech industry history.

Enerkem Inc. (Montreal Quebec) for starting up production of ethanol at its demonstration facility in Westbury, Quebec. Enerkem has developed a technology platform that creates biofuels and renewable chemicals from non-recyclable waste. The technology processes heterogeneous materials, such as municipal solid waste, into a synthetic gas (syngas), which is then conditioned so it can be converted into advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals. This technology creates waste-based biofuels that address the growing demand for renewable fuel and the challenges associated with waste disposal and greenhouse gas emissions. Enerkem has validated its proprietary technology over a period of 10 years, using solid waste from numerous municipalities and other types of feedstock. The company is now approaching commercialization with a full-scale waste-to-biofuels facility under construction in Edmonton, Alberta.

Texas Molecular (Deer Park, TX ) for its work in advancing the state of the art in deepwell injection. Underground injection in permitted hazardous waste deepwells is not a new disposal technology, but is increasingly being appreciated as viable. In 2011 and 2012, Texas Molecular led an effort to reconsider this technology as a valuable way to meet the triple bottom line of sustainability, speaking to groups in the hazardous waste, plating, and coal industries, and in 2012, the company substantially grew its commercial underground injection business in terms of clients, applications, customers, and geographies. Companies seeking to reduce their carbon footprint are considering underground injection due to low energy requirements and carbon emissions, which amount to a small fraction of the energy requirements and emissions of conventional wastewater and incineration processes. What has made the accomplishments more significant is that the company has done so in a time when so much controversy has emerged on the use Class 2 injection wells for wastewater from hydraulic fracturing operations.