Waste-to-energy company EnerTech raises $42 million

The company converts municipal solid waste, including sewage sludge, into a solid that can be burned as fuel.

EnerTech Environmental has attracted $42 million to build out facilities that turn human and industrial wastes into fuel.

The funding, announced on Monday, was co-led by Citi's Sustainable Development Investments (SDI) unit and Masdar Clean Tech Fund, which is financed in part by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company.

A Rialto, California waste-to-energy plant in construction with waste storage towers in background. Enertech Environmental

EnerTech Environmental's technology takes high-moisture biosolids, including sewage sludge or agricultural wastes, and treats it with heat and pressure to separate water from it.

What comes out the other end of its SlurryCarb process is water that is sent back to wastewater treatment plants and a solid which it calls E-Fuel.

That solid can be burned in facilities that already use coal with little or no change, according to a company representative.

The company's first plant is in Rialto, Calif., where the waste fuel is being burned at the cement kiln. The ash from the combustion is even incorporated into the cement.

On the whole, the process consumes less energy than the fuel itself contains, according to the company. In the future, it's conceivable that EnerTech Environmental's plants could run on its own fuel.

The second round of funding will be used for construction of different plants. The Rialto facility is supposed be operating by the end of this year.

Its target market are municipalities. Many human waste facilities are facing more stringent environmental regulations and are having trouble finding more space for landfill, EnerTech's representative said.

The company is not the first looking to convert waste of various forms into usable energy.

There are a number of companies looking to convert agricultural and animal wastes into transportation fuels.

Another company, called Ze-Gen, has developed a process for treating municipal solid waste or construction debris to turn into a synthetic gas that can be burned to make electricity.

 

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