Renovare Environmental sells digester business while fate of West Virginia plant still pending

Dive briefs:

  • Renovare Environmental has sold its aerobic food waste digester business and related software assets to TraQiQ, a Washington-based technology company. The transaction closed on January 5, according to financial documents.
  • TraQiQ paid Renovare $150,000 to issue low-value TraQiQ shares (partially held in escrow), was responsible for approximately $3.02 million of debt owed to Michaelson Capital Partners funds.
  • Renovare’s mechanical biotreatment facility in Martinsburg, West Virginia, was not part of the deal, sources said. This is considered one of the Excluded Assets listed in the Purchase Agreement.

Dive Insight:

Formerly known as BioHiTech Global, Renovare once planned to build multiple mechanical biotreatment plants in the United States. It also planned to expand sales of small-scale aerobic digesters that use enzymes to break down food waste to cruise ships and other large commercial facilities. client.

Instead, the company has been on a downward trajectory for more than a year due to a series of permitting, legal and financial troubles.The company’s filings in recent years show consistent net losses and mounting debt.

As of last March, the company was planning to acquire Harp Renewables, another small digester company, for $20 million. In June, plans shifted toward Harp acquiring Renovare. By September, Renovare CEO Tony Fuller had resigned and the deal with Harp was still pending. According to the company’s latest filing, on Dec. 30, he signed a purchase deal with TraQiQ, with no mention of Harp.

Harp did not respond to a request for comment. His CFO of Renovare, Brian Essman, who is believed to be one of the few employees remaining at the company following the layoffs, did not respond to a request for comment. TraQiQ CEO Ajay Sikka was not available for comment.

It is not known by sources that TraQiQ exists in the food waste sector. The company’s latest quarterly report said it “provides software-as-a-service that enables clients to build and manage networks of contract task workers,” citing examples of “such as PC repair and food delivery.” increase. His TraQiQ, which is registered as a California company, said at the time that its business was “focused on India, Southeast Asia and Latin America.”

Renovare’s gastrointestinal technology includes a cloud-based software component, which sources say could be related to TraQiQ’s business.

of renovation The company’s main remaining asset, a $33 million West Virginia facility, remains unsettled. The plant, located on land owned by the Berkeley County Solid Waste Department, will process 110,000 tons of mixed waste annually to produce solid recovered fuel (after recovering certain recyclables) for use in facilities such as cement kilns. ). After opening in 2019, it officially ceased operations last year, forcing the waste authority to redirect its materials elsewhere.

The site was built in partnership with the Italian company Entsorga, which still holds a minority stake, but that relationship has soured over time. Entsorga sued Renovare last year for unpaid balances of more than $1.1 million, but the lawsuit is pending in federal court. No attorneys are registered to represent Renovare.

Christopher Maloney, CEO of Entsorga’s North America division, said in an email that he hadn’t heard anything about the plant’s next steps. Maloney said the company “continues to be interested in working with new owners to evaluate the feasibility of restarting the plant using Entsorga technology, but only after it has been completely cleaned up.” said.

According to the Panhandle News Network, Renovare left a significant amount of trash in the facility, causing repeated fires. Gold Medal Environmental’s subsidiary Apple Valley Waste (which had previously played a role in the project itself) contracted Renovare to mitigate this problem.

“Apple Valley Waste has been working to address the extreme risks to our community. CEO Darren Gruendel said in an email. “There is still work to be done and our engagement is evolving accordingly. ”

County Waste Authority Chairman Clint Hogbin said he was pleased with the cleanup progress and noted that multiple officials have toured the facility in recent months. He declined to disclose the number, but said some were waste companies.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection had previously told Renovare that it had until October 4, 2022 to resume operations or initiate a permanent closure of the facility, but local sources have said that. I am not aware of any of the above state measures. The agency did not respond to requests for comment.

“We are cautiously optimistic that at some point we can bring this back,” Hogbin said. I think we are in the same position as the Solid Waste Authority of

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