The Power of We

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Harvest Power continues to implement solutions in strategic geographic clusters and has grown rapidly since its founding in 2008 garnering awards for its business of energy generation and soil revitalization.

Their model provides a solution to three distinct challenges: diverting material from landfills, producing renewable energy, and sustainably utilizing water and nutrients.

Harvest Power imports anaerobic digesters from Germany which captures the biogas byproduct of decomposing food and generates electricity and thermal heat.  They have just announced that they are converting one of their compost facilities into one of the largest commercial-scale high solids anaerobic digester facilities in North America for organic waste.  The facility, Energy Garden, is located in Richmond, British Columbia and will have the capacity to convert 40,100 tons of food and yard waste per year from residential and commercial generators into clean energy. Harvest Power was attracted to convert their Richmond facility into something more because of the region’s progressive environmental policies.

The facility is expected to produce enough energy to power about 900 homes per year generating revenue from the energy sales.   “This facility represents the innovation, passion and commitment required to usher in the future of organics management,” said Paul Sellew, Harvest Power founder and CEO. “We are excited to continue our partnership with Metro Vancouver and the city of Richmond community to cost-effectively convert organic materials once destined for the landfill into clean energy.”  This facility will represent a cost savings to the municipality who will pay about 50% less on their waste hauling bills by trucking less waste to landfills.

Harvest Power is just one local business retooling to take advantage of an upcoming policy change.  In 2015, all Metro Vancouver homeowners and businesses will be required to separate organic waste, including food scraps.  Some businesses are already setting up a new process in advance of the new rules. Costco should be regarded as a trend setter as they have been ahead of this new legislation for months.  The installation of the Eco-Safe Digester is eliminating the transportation of food scraps thus reducing their carbon footprint meeting the requirements of climate change legislation.

The end result of turning the food waste into energy is far better than into bags of compost.  But creating that type of facility is expensive and can’t be done without help.   Financing for the Energy Garden included $4 million from Natural Resources Canada and $1.5 million from BC Bioenergy Network in addition to $2 million from Metro Vancouver for site improvements over the next 10 years.

Vancouver business owners will still have to pay for waste disposal no matter where their food waste ends up, choosing a process and a solution that works best for your business takes time and due diligence.

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