How Harvest Power is turning food waste and sewage into energy
“Create a more sustainable future by helping communities meet challenges at the intersection of waste, agriculture and energy in the 21st century.”
This is Harvest Power’s founding vision, and the Massachusetts-based company is a USD$145 million revenue startup that turns food waste into fuel. Through the use of anaerobic digesters, large amounts of food waste, oils and treated sewage are converted into usable energy.
The U.S. and Canada currently have about 30 anaerobic digesters breaking down food, but CEO of Harvest Power Kathleen Ligocki believes hundreds more will be built within the next decade.
Harvest Power currently has a facility located at Walt Disney World in Florida—that’s right, the theme park. The facility processes the uneaten food waste from the parks and resorts and then sells it back to Disney as energy.
Harvest Power is also working on a project with the East Bay Municipal Utility District in Oakland to implement digesters into the wastewater treatment plant facility. With states and cities banning commercial food waste from landfills, Ligocki believes implementing digesters is an upcoming trend.
“We are at a real turning of the market,” Ligocki told Fortune. “I think food diversion will be very different in 10 years.”
RELATED TOPIC: Digesting the food waste issue
While Harvest Power is still relatively young, having been founded in 2008, there is major room for growth. Food waste is abundant, and with the energy industry in a state of flux, Harvest Power could come out on top solving two environmental issues, while reaping huge earnings.
“It’s the most secure stream there is,” Ligocki told Fortune. “If you’re near a population, you can pretty much guarantee it. And there’s no competition.”
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.