- Energy company Enbridge has committed $1 billion to help tech company Divert expand its food waste processing facilities across North America.
- Divert works with grocery retailers to process surplus food into renewable gas.
- Divert has also raised $100 million, including $80 million in growth equity from Enbridge and a $20 million round led by current investor Ara.
Why it matters:
The $1 billion infrastructure deal is a huge boost to Divert’s mission, which is to redirect landfill-bound food and instead turn it into renewable gas.
“As one of North America’s largest energy infrastructure companies, Enbridge will play a critical role in the continued development of our transformative technologies and infrastructure,” Ryan Begin, CEO and co-founder of Divert, said in a statement.
Divert helps grocery retailers first minimize food waste in stores via logistics technologies including RFID tracking technology. Any edible waste is then donated to communities in need. Leftover food from that process then goes to one of Divert’s anaerobic digestion facilities, which are scattered throughout North America.
Anaerobic digesters can covert organic material into a biogas that’s similar to nonrenewable natural gas taken from the ground. Livestock waste, byproduct from industrial food production and unsold food from retailers are all apt candidates for these digesters.
America’s grocery stores, in particular, waste a lot of food. Food waste non-profit ReFed estimates that the nation’s total surplus food, if gathered into one place, would cover 80 million acres, which is more than three-quarters of the state of California. Waste from food retailers accounts for almost half of this (43%).
Food waste rotting away in the landfill contributes up to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to Divert.
The infrastructure deal with Enbridge will help build more anaerobic digestion facilities so that Divert can continue its mission of keeping food out of the landfill. Divert plans to scale its facilities to “every major geographic region” in the US, with the goal of getting within 100 miles of 80% of the population over the next eight years.
Building facilities in Canada is also in Divert’s future plans. The company said it also plans to sell renewable gas to “a voluntary market of companies seeking to fulfill renewable energy and climate goals.”
Divert’s retail customer base currently includes 5,400 stores, with more than 1,000 additional locations contracted for 2023.
Beyond price parity, CEA must focus more on consumer demand to truly scale