Canadian company Anaergia is on a mission to combat climate change by transforming waste into clean energy.
Environmentalists often talk about the greenhouse gas methane and its outsized effect on global warming. Quickly reducing methane, they say, is crucial to slowing climate change in the near term. Waste in landfills, sewage, and agriculture are major sources of methane emissions and, thus, drivers of climate change. Fortunately, a Canadian company, Anaergia, is on a mission to change this by diverting organic waste from landfills, wastewater and other wastes and converting it into renewable energy.
Reducing methane emissions, slowing climate change
Methane emissions from landfills and wastewater represent a much larger portion of the world’s methane problem than most people realize. In landfills, these emissions are created by the uncontrolled anaerobic decomposition of food, yard clippings, and paper or cardboard — in other words, organic waste. Conservative estimates put global methane emissions from landfills and wastewater at 67 million metric tonnes per year — 20 percent of total methane emissions. And if food waste alone were a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, after China and the U.S.
Burlington, Ont.-based company Anaergia (TSX: ANRG) has projects around the globe that reduce methane emissions by converting waste from garbage, wastewater and other sources into renewable fuel, organic fertilizer and recycled water. The company has developed a complete suite of technologies that maximize resource recovery for the municipal, industrial, commercial, and agricultural sectors. Anaergia’s patented technologies do every step—extract food waste from municipal trash, anaerobically digest waste, make biomethane—so that instead of causing climate change, waste can be transformed into renewable fuel and used to displace natural gas in pipeline systems.
Creating a circular economy
“We’re tackling climate change in two ways: first, our technologies prevent the release of methane — a more powerful greenhouse gas emission than carbon dioxide — into the atmosphere, and second, we provide a carbon-negative fuel to avoid emissions from burning conventional fossil fuels,” says Andrew Benedek, CEO of Anaergia.
An academic and environmentalist who became an entrepreneur to solve environmental problems, Benedek is serious about tackling climate change and helping to create a circular economy. “I’m proud of our progress thus far,” he says. “We’ve developed a portfolio of patented technologies to solve the problem of methane emissions from waste. We’ve created nearly 400 clean-tech jobs and invested nearly $400 million in clean energy infrastructure around the world. We’ve also helped multiple municipal agencies raise funds through public-private partnerships to complete these clean-tech projects.”