Waste Management invests in Agilyx to turn waste plastic into oil
Houston-based Waste Management Inc. recently announced its investment in Agilyx Corp., a company commercializing technology to convert waste plastic into crude oil. “We are looking to maximize the value of the material we manage…in a very environmentally responsible way,” said Tim Cesarek, managing director of Waste Management’s organic growth division. “We’ve identified a number of technologies that will allow us to do so. We’ve been investing in those [technologies] and partnering with various folks to maximize the value of the waste. Agilyx happens to be one of those companies.”
According to Agilyx, it’s fully permitted, patented waste plastic conversion technology converts mixed waste plastic into synthetic crude oil via an efficient, anaerobic thermal reclamation process. The company currently operates a commercial plant in Oregon, and has formed an off-take agreement with an oil refinery. “Agilyx has produced and sold more than 120,000 gallons of crude oil, meaning its technology has recovered more than 1 million pounds of plastic that would otherwise have been landfilled or incinerated, while providing cleantech jobs and a new domestic source of crude oil,” said the company in a press release. Cesarek estimates the technology is able to produce 5 barrels of oil for each ton of plastic feedstock.
Waste Management invested an undisclosed amount of capital in Agilyx during the company’s Series B funding round, which totaled $22 million. Additional companies that have invested in Agilyx include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Total Energy Ventures International; Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital; Saffron Hill Ventures; and Reference Capital.
In addition to investing in the company, Cesarek said that Waste Management also intends to provide feedstock to certain Agilyx locations and will be developing its own locations featuring Agilyx technology. Those locations could be developed through either a joint venture agreement, technology licensing, or both, Cesarek said. “It’s going to depend upon the circumstances, but more often than not it will likely be licensing of the technology—purchasing of the technology at various locations—and cooperating with Agilyx as to the operation of those technologies at our locations,” he continued. According to Cesarek, Waste Management plans to develop projects featuring Agilyx technology within an 18 month timeframe.
Waste Management has invested in a wide range of companies that can convert the material it handles into fuels and chemicals. In addition to Agilyx, the company has also recently invested in Terrabon Inc., Enerkem Inc., S4 Energy Solutions LLC, and Genomatica Inc.
“We’re continually looking for means by which to create more value out of the materials that we manage,” Cesarek said. “We see waste as a resource, not unlike the refining companies see oil as a resource or a chemical company sees natural gas and oil as a resource.”