Luna Yu converts waste into game-changing products
According to Second Harvest, a staggering 58 percent of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted, representing 56.6 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions. Luna Yu founded her cleantech company to do something about it. Started at the University of Toronto and accelerated by the Women in Cleantech Challenge, Yu’s Genecis converts food waste into biodegradable plastics and other materials. The startup uses bacteria to break down food waste into short-chain carbons, and then another type of bacteria to eat those carbons and convert them into a polymer called PHA. Unlike other types of compostable goods (like oil-based plastic cups), Genecis’s products can be composted within a month, and degrade within a year should they end up in the ocean.
What’s next: Recently crowned the Extreme Tech Challenge’s global winner in the Cleantech and Energy Category, Genecis is scaling up by courting new clients looking to replace existing product lines. “We used the lockdown as an opportunity to reflect on what matters most and empathize with customers,” says Yu. “I’m really proud of how our team excelled in this period of change.”
Brandon Moffatt transforms trash into energy
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has been taken quite literally by London, Ont.–based StormFisher. Started in 2006 by three founders — Brandon Moffatt, Chris Guillon and Pearce Fallis — StormFisher’s biogas facility now converts more than 100,000 tonnes of organic waste each year into renewable energy, organic fertilizers and feedstock. With a focus on sustainable organics and power-to-gas projects, the company has started on several large-scale developments in Canada and the U.S. They use surplus renewable electricity at off-peak hours and produce low-carbon fuels for natural gas utilities and large corporations that are seeking to lower their carbon intensities or are in pursuit of carbon neutrality.
What’s next: “We are focused on the development of low-carbon energy infrastructure to produce various forms of renewable natural gas,” says Moffatt. StormFisher was also recently awarded a contract for a new green bin program in Stratford in which the organic waste will be used to create renewable gas at their facility.