Big money, names fill sails at Ze-gen

By Timothy Charles Holmseth
January was a month of big money, big names and high hopes at Massachusetts-based clean energy company Ze-gen Inc. A $2.5 million investment boost from California-based Pinnacle Ventures LLC, in addition to a facility tour and endorsement by U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., brought fresh momentum to the endeavor.

Kerry recently toured Ze-gen's facility in New Bedford, Mass., which uses gasification to convert municipal waste streams into synthesis gas. He said he was inspired to see this type of operation in the state. "Ze-gen's cutting-edge work is a great experiment in developing methods of solid waste disposal and alternative fuel production," he said. "After my tour of the Ze-gen facility, I walked away inspired by the innovation and ingenuity harnessed right here in Massachusetts, and its potential at home and across the world."

Patrick Lee, a partner at Pinnacle Ventures, said his company's investment decision was solid. "We're confident in the design and technology that we've witnessed at the Ze-gen test facility in New Bedford, and we believe our decision to help fund the preliminary permitting and development for its next facility will prove to be a sound investment," he said.

Ze-gen's goal is to alleviate the global stress being felt as a result of the 350 million tons of municipal waste that is generated each year. Ze-gen hopes to offer an economically viable and environmentally superior alternative to traditional landfills and incineration processes, said Bill Davis, chief executive officer and president. "We are pleased to have the senator's support on this project," he said.