Waste Management invests in Agnion's gasifier

By Lisa Gibson | May 17, 2011

Texas-based Waste Management Inc. has made a strategic investment in Delaware-based Agnion Energy Inc. to advance Agnion’s allothermal gasification technology.  

The technology uses a simple Heatpipe Reformer design to convert solid biomass feedstock, which will be mostly municipal solid waste, where permits allow, into a high hydrogen and carbon monoxide-rich syngas with exceptionally high heating value, according to Waste Management. That syngas can be used in combined-heat-and-power applications or can be converted into liquids, hydrogen, and methanol dimethyl-ether or as a substitute for natural gas. Typical customers for the process would be schools and universities, warehouses and distribution centers, shopping malls, hotels and hospitals, but Waste Management declined to offer a cost estimate for the system.

“This technology complements Waste Management’s other thermal chemical conversion technology platforms as it provides us with a small-scale, on-site gasification technology solution for relatively low capital cost,” said a Waste Management spokesperson.

Agnion’s first biomass gasification plant is currently under construction in the Bavarian town of Grassau in Germany, and the company plans to build plants in Europe and North America. “We view the fact that North America’s largest residential recycler and leading waste and environmental solutions provider has decided to invest in Agnion and our Heatpipe-Reformer technology as a tremendous honor and a vote of confidence,” said Agnion CEO Stephan Mey. Besides Waste Manament, Agnion’s gasifier has gotten investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Munich Venture Partners and Wellington Partners.

Waste Management has also invested in chemical conversion processes by Enerkem, S4 Energy Solutions, Terrabon and Agilyx, according to the company. “Waste Management wants to maximize the value of the materials it manages,” said Tim Cesarek, managing director of Organic Growth at Waste Management. “Agnion’s technology complements Waste Management’s advancement of thermochemical conversion technology platforms and could enhance our suite of waste processing options.”