Harvest Power is about dirt. It’s also about soil regeneration and managing the modern day intersection of waste, agriculture and energy, so that ongoing human consumption can be used as the engine to drive ongoing renewable energy.
In three and a half years, CEO Paul Sellew has created a company that diverts more than two million tons of organic waste material from landfills and turns it into some 29 million bags of soil, mulch and fertilizer products while producing 65,000 megawatt hours of heat and power-generating energy to run its facilities.
Harvest Power operates in 30 sites across the U.S. and Canada, using strategic partnerships with municipalities, haulers and state-of-the-art anaerobic digesters to create high value compost that is in turn used to create more high nutrition food that can be later be recycled into the system starting the whole process over again.
Seventy-five years ago, Albert and Frances Lundberg moved from the John Steinbeckian Dust Bowl of Nebraska to California to try their hand at farming land that had not yet been destroyed by pretty much the same challenges farmers face today – drought and poor soil management.
Albert had seen the results of shortsighted farm husbandry and passed along his philosophy of sustainable agriculture to his four sons, Eldon, Wendell, Harlan and Homer, who established Lundberg Family Farms, and pioneered organic rice growing in America.
Third-generation farmer, Jessica Lundberg, summed up the enterprise’s ongoing commitment to sustainability as more than an abstract liberal value. It’s a pragmatic imperative.
“When my grandparents left dried-up Nebraska and came to Northern California, they had new-found appreciation for being stewards of the land,” Lundberg said. “Soil is a living organism and must be treated well.”
When Bill and Karla Chambers founded Stahlbush Island Farms in 1985, their goal was to not only grow certified organic produce but also to integrate sustainability into all aspects of their operation. In 1997, Stahlbush Island Farms was certified sustainable by Food Alliance (FA).
“Sustainability is a journey, not an end point,” says Stahlbush Island Farms marketing executive Emily J. Hall. “It’s about having an ongoing philosophy regarding how you operate as a company, and making the right choices every day.”
Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center Receives $6.5M Grant for Biogas, Bioenergy ResearchNovember 1, 2012 | OSU Extension
News Release — WOOSTER, Ohio – Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) has received a $6.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy to test and expand a university-developed technology that can produce biogas from a variety of solid organic wastes and bioenergy crops.
Awarded through the Biomass Research Development Initiative (BRDI), the three-year grant will also allow researchers to develop technology for converting biogas to liquid hydrocarbon fuels, with the aim of further diversifying the country’s currently available suite of renewable transportation fuels.
News Release – COVINGTON, N.Y. – (BUSINESS WIRE) – U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) joined state and local officials today at the grand opening of New York state’s largest on-farm, ‘co-digestion’ biogas power project, marking an important boost to the state’s renewable energy production and sustainability efforts. The facility is located at Synergy Dairy, a 2,000-head dairy farm in Covington, Wyoming County, southwest of Rochester.
A burgeoning crop of agricultural entrepreneurs is beginning to sprout, poised to develop sustainable and profitable solutions to meet the food and energy demands of a world population forecast to peak at 9 billion by 2050. To explore this flight to innovation in agriculture, Seedstock, a company that promotes entrepreneurship and sustainability in agriculture through its website http://seedstock.com, in association with the Rady Entrepreneur Club, an affiliate organization of the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego, will host a panel discussion with a number of Southern California-based agricultural entrepreneurs.
The first anaerobic dry fermentation biodigester in the United States is up and running at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. The alternative power system has been producing clean, renewable electricity from plant and food waste to supply electricity and heat for the university campus since Oct. 3, the University news service reported.
University staff and students involved with the development of the power system had been stockpiling agricultural plant and food waste as feedstock in airless chambers and feeding it into the dry anaerobic biodigester since last summer in anticipation of bringing it online.
Husk Power Systems (HPS), a startup company based in India, has developed a renewable energy system, which uses the discarded husks of rice grains to generate electricity. When heated, rice husks release gas that can be harnessed to power generators. A small HPS processing plant can provide electricity to several hundred households. The husk power project is subsidized by the Indian government, which has set a goal of deriving 15 percent of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2020. Read the full article: Indian Electricity Initiative Shines New Light on Farm Garbage.
Seedstock is always interested in learning more about who’s out there starting companies in the sustainable agriculture space. Today we were fortunate enough to speak with Seth Burns, CEO of San Diego, CA based Biogas & Electric LLC.
Burns is a fourth generation cattle rancher with an MBA who hails from Big Timber, Montana and possesses firsthand knowledge of the potential for biogas, (the gas produced by the biological breakdown of organic matter such as livestock waste in the absence of oxygen), to promote sustainable agriculture.