StormFisher Biogas, a London company that will turn vegetable waste into electricity, has inked its largest deal yet, partnering with Loblaws stores across Southwestern Ontario to take their leftover fruit and vegetable for use in its local plant.
"We are very excited," said Ryan Little, StormFisher's vice president of business development. "This is the first time in Canada you are seeing this go mainstream. To have a company like Loblaws involved shows commercialization is very real."
The Loblaws deal comes amid another key development for StormFisher: The company founded only a few years ago by Little and two other UWO business school graduates is in talks to be sold to a large U.S.
firm, Little confirmed.
"We are in talks with some parties and we cannot comment on it," he said. "We are looking to have that transaction completed before we are up and running."
The Loblaws deal will see 47 stores from Waterloo to Windsor ship about 15,000 tonnes of leftover waste to the $20-million London plant, which will open next year on Green Valley Road and turn gas from rotting organic waste into power to sell into the grid.
"When we look at the business model, we are very confident in this market. This is the most sophisticated biogas development project in North America," said Little.
It's the second recent green energy announcement in London, with the Ontario government cutting the ribbon last week on the Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources (ICFAR), a research centre on a farm operated by the University of Western Ontario that turns organic waste into bio-oil.
The two projects could help make London an Ontario green energy centre, said Little.
"There is a lot of interest in the London area for this," he said. "It has the right combination of urban and rural. There is a lot of agricultural product and research in the area."
Trucked-in organic matter at the StormFisher plant will be loaded into a giant tank, the contents stirred together for about 30 days. As it breaks down, the material will generate methane and carbon dioxide gas that will be captured and, through another process, turned into electricity.
From the leftover solid waste, fertilizer pellets will be made and sold.
As innovative as the process is for Ontario, it's common in Europe, where organic waste has been diverted from landfills for decades, said Little.