Decarbonisation, sustainability and social impact investor, Elbow Beach Capital has today announced its investment in WASE. The initial investment, a £400,000 investment will be followed by a further £300,000, following the closure of WASE’s oversubscribed Seedr campaign.
“We are excited to start this journey with Elbow Beach onboard, so together, we can unlock the power of waste to make it the fuel of the future,” remarked Dr Thomas Fudge, WASE CEO.
WASE has raised over £1 million owing to further support from the European Union’s Climate-KIC’s investment support programme Found by Us, Funded by You, and the Science Angel Syndicate.
Growing waste, a growing concern
Water is one of the most valuable resources, yet it is under constant threat due to climate change and the resulting droughts, as well as explosive population growth, and waste. Water scarcity has consequently emerged as a modern critical issue in today’s world. This increasing scarcity along with the rapid population increase in urban areas gives rise to concerns about sustainable water management practices.
The current urban wastewater management system is a linear treatment system that’s based on disposal. Over 80% of wastewater globally is left untreated and discharged into the environment. That’s the equivalent of two million Olympic swimming pools of wastewater polluting land and waterways every day. This traditional system needs transformation into a sustainable, closed-loop urban wastewater management system that’s based on water conservation and nutrient resources.
Increasing food waste is a major environmental and social concern, and its impact will most likely increase with further population growth. In the agri-food chain during the processing of food products, hefty quantities of by-products and waste are generated, the disposal of which produces negative environmental and economic effects.
It has therefore been necessary to implement sustainable food systems that guarantee nutrition, health, and food safety, without compromising the economic, social, and environmental circumstances of future generations.
WASE’s waste conversion tech
You may have heard of anaerobic digestion which breaks down organic waste to produce biogas. WASE’s technology combines the biological reactions in anaerobic digestion with bioelectrochemical processes, to treat waste more efficiently, by using Electro-Methanogenic Reactors (EMRs).
EMRs fall into an emerging category of waste-to-energy tech called Bio-Electrochemical Systems. Bio-Electrochemical systems use electrodes to enhance the biological processes through the utilisation of electrically active microorganisms. Having these two processes working together allows EMRs to accelerate waste breakdown and production of bioenergy. The increased digestion rate can be up to ten times faster than anaerobic digestion, allowing smaller compact waste to energy systems.
Targeting UK drinks and food processors
The company was founded in 2017 by Thomas Fudge, William Gambier & Llŷr Anwyl, and is based in London. WASE’s systems, using its proprietary electro-methanogenic process, will enable food and drinks manufacturers to treat their wastewater and unavoidable food waste and in turn produce renewable energy onsite, providing up to 90% of their energy demands.
With over 300,000 SME food and drink manufacturers in the UK and EU alone gathering legislative and consumer pressure for sustainable products, the potential uptake of WASE’s solutions is significant.
WASE provides three biocentres engineered to serve three sectors. IndustriWASE provides onsite waste-to-energy solutions for food and beverage manufacturers whereas agriWASE provides efficient energy and resource recovery aimed at the agricultural sector. The final, saniWASE, provides onsite safe treatment for black water and faecal sludge providing municipal waste treatment to underserved communities.
The company’s cutting-edge systems are already helping food and drinks manufacturers, including Hepworth, Hobsons, and Forest Road Brewing.
Growth for WASE
WASE will initially target the UK brewery sector since breweries can produce up to ten pints of wastewater per pint of beer produced.
The acquired financing will go towards installing a commercial industriWASE Biocentre system at Hepworth Brewery, progressing WASE’s sales pipeline, increasing R&D spend and supporting key recruitment across the commercial, research, engineering and finance teams.
Belief exists that WASE’s circular approach to waste management makes EMR one of the most sustainable options for treating a variety of waste streams. Bioelectrochemical systems are the future, as they transform waste from a toxic burden to a sustainable supply of energy and nutrients that could enable communities to flourish.
“From day one, we’ve been incredibly impressed by both WASE’s technology and the expert team that Thomas has assembled. We are firm believers in greening up from within industry and WASE’s technology is a perfect example of this. We look forward to working closely with WASE to rapidly commercialise this pioneering technology” said Jon Pollock, CEO of Elbow Beach Capital.