The Good Stuff
Impact Bioenergy (IB) was formed in 2013 on a mission to change the paradigm and get food and beverage “waste” to be recognized as a valuable community resource, enable thriving local circular economies and augmenting food, energy and water infrastructure with more sustainable alternatives. Towards that end, IB manufactures commercial-scale, portable anaerobic digestion (AD) systems that convert residual food and beverage resources into renewable energy that is less intermittent and more versatile than solar or wind resources, and probiotic plant food with zero-waste.
IB’s modular AD systems are can solve the massive existing problem of managing institutional, industrial and commercial food “waste” resources generated in urban, suburban and rural settings. IB’s solutions can pay for themselves in two to five years by reducing disposal costs and generating valuable energy and plant food coproducts. Social and environmental attributes include contributions to zero-waste goals, local production of renewable energy and organic food inputs, reduced or eliminated transportation, reduced chemical use, resiliency, job creation, and support of local circular economies. IB has overcome barriers to provide a service that saves money, has a small footprint, is easy to use, and reduces vector attraction and other nuisances by controlling odor and internalizing externalities.
IB has deployed seven systems in concert with King County, WA and other institutional, industrial and commercial generators such as food and beverage plants, campuses, farms, islands and other communities. IB has proved the concept of decentralized organic waste-to-resource conversion with over 60,000 hours of successful operational performance to-date, positive cash flow and the achievement of profitability.
An example of a 2017 deployment is Microsoft’s purchase of IB’s AD 25 series HORSE (High-solids Organics Recycling System with optional Electric output) to convert up to 50 tons per year (tpy) of their catering kitchens’ residuals into renewable gas for preheating water used in their boiler, and into organic fertilizer for their campus and farmers. The Microsoft HORSE is operated by the Compass Group, the largest contract food service company in the world.
Most recently, in 2019, IB has installed their first AD 185 series NAUTILUS on Vashon Island, WA, which will be commissioned during the summer of 2019. The project has been sponsored by the Washington State Dept. of Commerce’s Clean Energy Fund R&DD program, along with a loan from Washington State Housing Finance Commission’s Sustainable Energy Trust program. The NAUTILUS at Vashon Bioenergy Farm (VBF) is a 37.5x scale-up from Microsoft’s HORSE to approx. 1,500 tpy in capacity for community-scale utilities. For every 60 to 80 pounds of substrate that would otherwise have been long-haul exported, VBF is rated to generate one gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) in adsorbed and compressed natural gas forms (ANG and CNG) for use in cooking, heat, vehicle fueling, co-generation of heat & power, and potentially other applications such as cooling, and recovery of renewable carbon dioxide.
Decentralized bioenergy from organics is intended as a holistic community solution to be collocated at or near the source of feedstocks, energy, fuel, fertilizer and feed loads. The close proximity of the system to its feedstocks and beneficial users conserves energy that would have been expended for transport and processing of materials, and centralized food, fuel and power generation. On a lifecycle basis, the NAUTILUS enables recycling infrastructure efficiencies with net-positive energy generation, and a net carbon-negative value proposition when utilized as renewable fuel for vehicles and fertilizer for year-round food systems.