Challenge: Reducing the flow of garbage to local landfills
Solution: Cooking up a disruptive solution that turns waste into fuel
As a professional working in the pulp and paper sector, Peter Vinall was always cooking up ways for companies to lower costs. Now, as the co-founder and president of Sustane Technologies, he is cooking up ways to reduce municipal waste – literally.
The Halifax-based company has developed a disruptive technology that reduces trash levels by cooking it. “We take regular garbage headed to the landfill and can recycle up to 90 per cent of it,” says Vinall.
“Nobody is doing what we’re doing,” he adds.
Garbage is separated at the company’s $20 million, 40,000 square foot plant in Chester. After unacceptable materials like propane tanks are removed, the next step in the patented process is to shred the remaining trash.
“Material is ripped to three inches or smaller, and then it is taken to the pressure cooker,” explains Peter. “There is no combustion or emissions.”
In all, there are 13 different stages of separation that ultimately create diesel fuel and biomass pellets, both of which burn cleaner than other sources. “There is intense demand for the product,” says Peter. “For every ton of garbage taken to our plant, more than two tons of carbon dioxide is reduced. It’s a massive environmental benefit.”
At present, Vinall is focused on the market in Atlantic Canada, primarily municipal governments that manage landfills. Next, the company will turn its attention to the New England market, which includes many private companies.
For entrepreneurs looking to launch their own innovative products, Peter offers this advice: understand the economics of your enterprise. “Assume you will have setbacks along the way. The business case needs to be really compelling at the outset. That is the reality of the market.”
Partnerships focused on driving innovation and the development of new technologies play a key role in Sustane Technologies’ continued growth. With support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the government is helping Sustane Technologies commercialize this new clean fuel for the industrial market and accelerate the company’s growth. An investment of nearly $360,000 will help Sustane expand its complement of business development staff, as well as engage the expertise of engineering and design professionals, and other skilled disciplines.
Sustane Technologies is a prime example of how innovation and resourcefulness fuel Atlantic Canada’s economy, at home and beyond.
Do you have a business concept? Do you have an innovative idea to improve or grow your business? For more information on programs and services available to businesses in Atlantic Canada call 1-800-561-7862 or go to canada.ca/acoa