The Triumphs and Trials of Four of the Top Waste-to-Energy Companies

September 10th, 2021

The global Waste-to-Energy (WTE) market is growing, with Statista valuing it at $50.1 billion by 2027 and increasing at a rate of 4.6% between 2020 and 2027.

Waste to Energy technology offers an exciting alternative to fuel generation because it solves two problems at once. Through efficient management and repurposing of waste, energy companies can significantly improve cost efficiency in their operations, while simultaneously benefiting from clean energy that all lead to a reduced carbon footprint. 

In today’s post, we’re taking a look at four of the top-performing waste-to-energy companies, both veterans and up-and-comers, to keep an eye on in the coming year. 

These companies have the potential to flip the carbon footprint- substantially offsetting CO2 and using waste to literally fuel economic growth without hurting the environment. However, they are all facing unique challenges to their continued growth.

#1 Generate Capital

Generate Capital, headquartered in San Francisco, California, offers a sustainable infrastructure platform. They build, own, operate, and finance sustainable energy, mobility, and agricultural resources for companies and communities.

With over 2,000 assets in their portfolio, their impressive range of projects includes microgrids, biogas, hydrogen vehicles, and anaerobic digesters, and precision agriculture.

Additionally, CNBC reported in July that Generate Capital had raised $2 billion in its latest round of funding amid the proliferation of clean-energy infrastructure projects. 

Moving forward, Generate will face the challenge of ensuring ROI for investors. There are multiple paths to sustaining growth, each with its own unique challenges. 

At the top line- production output from assets, and at the bottom line- operational improvements. Questions they should be asking include:

  • If they purchase more equipment, how can they ensure they’ll be able to fuel them consistently to offset the new expense?
  • If its process needs improvements- where should they start? 
  • How and what should they track? 

#2 Brightmark Energy

Brightmark Energy, also headquartered in San Francisco, is an energy company that transforms organic waste into renewable natural gas and creates innovative approaches to renewable plastic. 

Their sustainability goals include:

  • To offset 22 million metric tons of CO2 by 2025 with our Renewable Natural Gas 
  • To divert 8.4 million metric tons of plastic from landfills or the environment by 2025
  • Use plastic waste to produce 1.7 million tons of feedstocks to remake plastics by 2025

Brightmark has also recently expanded its joint venture with Chevron to produce higher returns and lower carbon by funding ten dairy biomethane projects across several states. 

Unfortunately, the plastic market has become very unpredictable in recent years. One major factor was the ban on plastic by China in 2018. China had historically been the largest importer of plastic waste, and their ban has left the US with a lot of used plastics. 

Additionally, for the first time in history, new plastic is cheaper than recycled plastic making the sourcing of recycled plastic both complex and expensive. Given this market volatility, Brightmark should consider: 

  • How will they set a budget and stay cash positive with a fluctuating commodity?
  • What operational improvements can they make to add cost efficiency to their bottom line?

#3 Vanguard Renewables

Vanguard Renewables, headquartered in Wellesley, Massachusetts, takes a slightly different approach to WTE by working alongside the dairy industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while solving long-term economic operational inefficiencies for farmers.

In addition to receiving the 2021 Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award for Goodrich Farm, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, Vanguard was also recognized for the recent completion of construction on an anaerobic digester (AD) on the Goodrich Family Farm

The AD turns manure into digestate for its cropland by using CH4 Biogas technology that processes more than 180 tons of organic waste from retailers, manufacturers, and distributors. 

However, much of Vanguard’s business model is relationship-driven. These relationships with communities and dairy farms are long-term strategies that take years to cultivate.

In order to sustain a high growth rate, they will have to find short-term methods to support and streamline their supply chain. This involves considering:

  • What pieces of their supply chain can be streamlined?
  • Should they source new farms, focus on higher-quality testing, or hire a leaner transport crew?

#4 Anaergeia

Anaergeia, headquartered in Ontario, Canada, boasts the ability to recover renewable energy, fertilizer, and water, from nearly any waste source. 

Over 90% of their $2.8 billion revenue backlog consists of build-own-operate (BOO) assets and over 50 potential BOO opportunities that divert waste, reduce operations costs, create new streams of revenue, and optimize the output of renewable energy.

In their Q2 2021 reports, Anaergeia reported that revenues had increased from $9.8 million to $32.1 million for the three-month period ending on June 30, 2021, compared to $22.4 million for the same period in 2020.

The challenge for Anaergia lies in its multiple waste sources. Each one of these markets operates differently and has its own intricacies. For some, the waste suppliers are compensated for the waste they supply. In others, a third-party organization is employed to take the waste off their hands. 

In the coming year, they will need to ask themselves if trying to learn and operate within each of these markets is the best use of their time or if they should opt for a less time-consuming and expensive route. 

If so, what’s the low-hanging fruit within their operations that they should optimize first? 

The good news is that for each of these organizations, their challenges are solvable. In our next post, we’ll discuss some simple ways to increase ROI for investors and streamline the WTE supply chain for greater cost efficiency.

Who is Enmass Energy?

Our platform connects all the parties in Waste-to-Energy (WtE) projects – suppliers, transporters, trucking companies, warehousing, processors, and last-mile deliveries – through a single, secure cloud-based platform.

Enmass Energy helps energy producers source waste and suppliers divert waste while serving a greater mission of reducing waste in landfills. 

If you’d like to learn more about how we can empower you to streamline your renewable energy supply chain, get started here

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