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Waste-to-fuel firm Changing World files for IPO

Changing World Technologies makes diesel fuel from animal and agricultural wastes with a process that could work with household trash, plastics, and even electronics.

Changing World Technologies will find out whether there's money in those hills of garbage.

The company, which converts animal and food wastes into diesel fuel and fertilizer, filed paperwork on Tuesday for an initial public offering. It hopes to raise as much as $100 million, according to the filing.

Changing World Technologies

It's the second company in the alternative energy, or clean tech, area to announce plans to go public in a week. On Friday, battery maker A123 Systems filed for an IPO.

Investors and entrepreneurs are betting that energy-related start-ups can successfully raise funds and deliver solid returns for investors in a relatively poor IPO environment.

Changing World, which is based in West Hempstead, N.Y., operates a plant in Carthage, Mo. The plant turns animal wastes and grease into renewable diesel, a fuel that qualifies for a federal $1-per-gallon subsidy.

The plant is capable of taking in 78,000 tons of animal and food processing waste per year and turning out between 4 million to 9 million gallons of diesel, depending on the feedstock.

With the proceeds from the IPO, it hopes to build facilities that can process 500 tons to 2,000 tons of animal and food processing waste per day to make 13 million to 54 million gallons of diesel per year.

Changing World sells the diesel, which its says is competitive on price with heating oil, for use in industrial boilers.

The company said its thermal conversion process is environmentally friendly because it creates a product out of wastes that would otherwise go to landfills, potentially releasing pathogens into the environment. In addition to diesel, the technology also produces organic fertilizers.

Wastes are heated and pressurized and then treated with water to separate materials into gases, diesel, and solids.

The process can be converted for several other materials, including shredded tires, municipal garbage, and even electronic waste. The company is now developing a second facility with auto manufacturers in Philadelphia to process tires.

Like many young companies, Changing World is not profitable, and the company spells out a number of risks in its S-1 document, including availability of feedstock and competition from alternative waste-treatment technologies.

The success of the company's planned IPO could help send a signal about the public market's appetite for investing in relatively young energy-technology outfits.

It could also bring more attention to the waste-to-energy field, where several technologies are being developed to generate liquid fuels or electricity from industrial and municipal wastes.