Waste-to-fuel start up WasteFuel has launched WasteFuel Agriculture which will turn farm waste into low-carbon fuels including renewable natural gas and bio-methanol that can be used in land and marine transport with significantly lower emissions footprints than fossil fuels. The new effort offers farmers a way of handling their waste streams and reducing emissions.
In today’s Digest, the backstory, just how big the waste problem is and how this will help, how it will help farmers, why you may have heard of them in the sustainable aviation fuel or marine shipping circles, and more.
California-based WasteFuel recognizes that managing waste in an easy, safe, and cost-effective way is a persistent concern for farmers. This is also a problem on a global scale. WasteFuel points out that research has suggested that by 2030, the planet will be generating at least 5bn tons of manure each year with the vast majority of that coming from livestock. The mass of animal waste is forecast to have increased 40% from 2003 to 2030.
Agriculture contributes 9.6% to US greenhouse gas emissions, according to EPA, and about 36% of methane emissions, mostly from livestock.
The scale of the waste problem
WasteFuel is committed to tackling the waste crisis and shared these key points highlighting just how big the waste problem really is today and in the future.
What WasteFuel is doing about it
To tackle these problems, producers will be able to sell biogenic farm waste that would otherwise decompose and release methane and carbon dioxide to WasteFuel Agriculture. Using proven technologies, WasteFuel will convert agriculture waste into low-carbon fuels including renewable natural gas and green methanol.
WasteFuel uses a combination of proven existing technologies including Anaerobic Digestion and new proprietary approaches to convert agricultural waste into low carbon fuels.
Compared to conventional fuels, WasteFuel aims for its fuels produced from agricultural waste to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%. But importantly, WasteFuel Agriculture also provides farmers with a route to effectively manage their waste – whether it is from livestock or other crops – and helps them meet the needs of our land and maintain stewardship of their land.
Trevor Neilson, Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of WasteFuel said, “At WasteFuel, we believe there is no such thing as waste, there is just potential fuel. WasteFuel Agriculture offers a solution to the growing problem of farm waste that can help ensure the environment’s future. We’re pleased to be launching in the agricultural sector and look forward to working with farmers to reduce waste and emissions.”
Investors, Farmers, Customers
On the ‘who else is involved?’ side of things, WasteFuel has received investments from companies including Maersk, NetJets, Prime Infrastructure, and i(x) Net Zero and will now also work alongside farmers and their families to revolutionize mobility by air, land, and sea.
To make all this happen, WasteFuel will be working with farmers in California and across the west and mid-west of the US. They are also working with waste owners outside of the US – with their initial focus on the Americas and Asia. The location of the technology/biorefinery varies for each project as their goal is to minimize the amount of transport required across the entire process (from the waste owner/location all the way to the off-taker/fuel location).
When asked about customers, WasteFuel’s PR contact Abby Pick said they don’t have anything specific to announce at the conversation moment related to customers in the marine industry purchasing marine fuels, but “we are in advanceds with partners and hope to have news in the coming months. NetJets, the world’s largest private aviation company, is a partner and investor and will purchase 100 million gallons of WasteFuel over the next ten years from our Philippines project which will convert municipal solid waste into sustainable aviation fuel.”
WasteFuel in marine shipping and aviation industries
Speaking of SAF and aviation, in February 2021, the Digest reported that NetJets made a significant investment in WasteFuel, aiming to transform landfill waste into sustainable aviation fuel, making it the first private aviation company to buy a stake in the production of sustainable aviation fuel . NetJets and WasteFuel are in the early phases of developing a plant in Manila, Philippines, slated to be operational in 2025, in partnership with leading infrastructure developer Prime Infra. The fuel is anticipated to be imported into Los Angeles and distributed across the NetJets operations network.
An on the marine shipping side, earlier this year in January, The Digest reported that WasteFuel launched WasteFuel Marine, a renewable fuel solution for the shipping sector. WasteFuel Marine’s initial product will be bio-methanol for container ships. WasteFuel aims for its marine fuels to reduce CO2 emissions by 95% and Nitrogen Oxide emissions by up to 80% compared to conventional fuels.
In September 2021, The Digest reported that three weeks after the announcement of an e-methanol sourcing agreement in Europe, AP Moller – Maersk invested in WasteFuel. Maersk’s investment was to enable WasteFuel to develop biorefineries that utilize the most effective technologies available to produce sustainable fuels from unrecoverable waste that would otherwise degrade, and release methane and other harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Maersk is confident that green bio-methanol is one of the promising fuels of the future as it can be scaled up and play an important role in decarbonizing supply chains within the next 10-15 years.
While those announcements focused on the offtake/sustainable fuel solution for marine transport, aviation and companies, this latest announcement focuses on ensuring the feedstock and waste management side of the equation. WasteFuel will convert the agriculture waste into RNG and methanol that can be used in various ways including to fuel marine transport/ships and to fuel freight trucks, and that is pretty exciting news all around.