BOSTON—Today, almost all of the food waste from restaurants, supermarkets, food processors and consumers’ homes goes straight to the landfill. However, an enterprising company, Harvest Power, Inc.—with offices in Waltham, MA and Seattle, WA, as well as Richmond, British Columbia—sees that as a huge waste of resources.
The company believes food waste can serve as a medium for generating electricity, natural gas, or steam for heating, as well as composting it. And it has $40 million in venture capital to help make that dream a reality.
Paul Sellew, CEO of the upstart firm, likens the current perspective on food waste to yard waste 20 years ago in America, when it was treated like any other form of refuse and sent to the landfill. Now most cities across the country compose yard waste, creating a valuable commodity from what was previously considered garbage while simultaneously lightening the impact on our landfills.
Harvest Power will begin operations at a plant in Vancouver, British Columbia, later this year, and is proposing creation of another facility in San Jose, Calif. Anaerobic digesters and bacteria will transform lawn trimmings and food waste into methane, the main component of natural gas. The methane will then fuel a combined heat and power system to generate electricity and/or heat water or produce steam. The methane can also be transformed into compressed natural gas. Any leftover organic material can be used to make compost.
- Boston Globe: Making fuel from food waste