Impact Bioenergy Announces Successful Commercialization of Portable Anaerobic Digesters

Seattle-based Impact Bioenergy is now demonstrating the performance of their portable microdigester, called the HORSE, at Fremont Brewing Co. The project is sponsored in part by Seattle Public Utilities. This marks the first of several HORSE projects underway near Seattle. The second machine will be located in Auburn, WA, and negotiations are underway to site a third machine, on Bainbridge Island, sponsored by Puget Sound Energy. The company has been awarded additional grant contracts from King County, Dept. of Natural Resources & Parks and is receiving research and development support from the Small Business Technical Assistance Program at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. With their partners, the team plans to accelerate to a full gallop in the coming months. Impact can produce several machines per month and is exploring scale-up partnerships with several complementary technology firms.

“The global interest has been a surprise for us”, according to CEO, Jan Allen. “We are considering how to best make strategic partnerships that are truly win-win. This approach will allow some level of quality control and operational excellence.” Charging electric vehicles and generating renewable CNG fuel are integrated into the business model.

Impact can deliver portable systems that convert 960 lbs. to 35,000 lbs. of organic “waste” per week into liquid fertilizer. The company has received requests for the HORSE from Albania to Zambia, indicating that the scale of this idea is revolutionary from a systems standpoint, addressing food, energy, waste and water. These machines upcycle organic waste materials into renewable natural gas and fertilizer. Energy can be in the form of building heat, hot water, radiant heat, light, electricity, vehicle fuel, cooking fuel, and prime motion. The digested food waste can be liquid soil amendment, liquid fertilizer, dried fertilizer, and compost. The liquid soil amendment from the HORSE has been approved by Washington State Department of Agriculture for use on their partner’s certified organic farm, owned and operated by Seattle Urban Farm Co.

Impact clients can move the needle beyond zero waste by connecting the idea of distributed bioenergy to job creation, energy conservation, renewable energy production, carbon sequestration and local agriculture. The basic design is to build a resilient hyperlocal food ecosystem that provides access to healthy, affordable organic food by engaging farmers, food/beverage businesses, communities and governments. The HORSE can be used to build and store energy for offgrid emergency management and disaster response. Operating the HORSE has been made as simple as possible:

  • Food and beverage “waste,” including fats, oils, and grease are received and reduced by grinding as necessary.
  • The system has a blending and feeding arrangement that runs automatically to minimize labor cost.
  • Gas storage is pressurized by the microbes using an innovative water based regulator system.
  • Odor control captures and prevents odors with biocarbon, biofiltration and neutralization.
  • Safety systems include a gas ignition and combustion system, weather protection, and secondary containment.

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