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Waste-to-energy firm Ze-gen piles up cash

Ze-gen, which has a gasification process that can transform construction debris into electricity, raises $20 million in a funding round led by a conglomerate based in Oman.

Updated at 3:00 p.m. PT to correct reference to synthetic gas.

Waste-to-energy firm Ze-Gen said Tuesday that it has raised money to further develop and commercialize its technology for converting municipal solid waste to electricity.

The company announced a series B round of $20 million that was led by a division of the Oman-based conglomerate Omar Zawawi Establishment.

Workers at Ze-Gen's waste-to-electricty test facility in Bedford, Mass. Ze-Gen

There are a handful of firms developing different processes for converting municipal solid waste into usable energy. There are landfills that capture methane gas, which can be burned for electricity. Energy from incinerated trash can be used, too, but it is considered inefficient and polluting.

Ze-Gen uses presorted construction debris, which is put through a gasification process, where the trash is heated and put under pressure. Unlike burning, gasification yields what's called synthetic gas, which can be burned to make electricity.

The company has a demonstration facility in Bedford, Mass., where it intends to supply electricity to the local utility.

Last year, the original developers of the core technology filed suit against Ze-Gen, alleging that the intellectual property was misappropriated. Company executives have said the case has no merit.