Renovare Environmental is selling the digester business while the fate of the West Virginia plant is still being sorted out

Brief description of diving:

  • Renovare Environmental has sold its food waste aerobic digester business and related software assets to TraQiQ, a Washington, D.C.-based technology company. The transaction closed on Jan. 5, according to financial filings.
  • TraQiQ paid Renovare $150,000, issued low value TraQiQ shares (some of which will be held in escrow) and assumed responsibility for nearly $3.02 million in debt to Michaelson Capital Partners.
  • Renovare’s mechanical-biological processing facility in Martinsburg, West Virginia, was not part of the transaction, according to the sources. It is considered to be among the excluded property specified in the contract of sale.

Insight into diving:

Renovare, formerly known as BioHiTech Global, once had plans to build multiple mechanical bioprocessing plants in the US. He also planned to expand sales of small aerobic digesters, which use enzymes to break down food waste, to cruise ships and other large commercial products. customers.

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

As of last March, the company had plans to acquire Harp Renewables (another small digester company) for $20 million. In June, the plan passed to Harp, which is taking over Renovare. By September, Renovare CEO Tony Fuller had stepped down, and the Harp deal was still pending. The company’s latest filing shows it entered into a purchase agreement with TraQiQ on Dec. 30, without mentioning Harp.

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

The sources do not know that TraQiQ is present in the food waste sector. The company’s latest quarterly filing said it “provides software as a service that enables clients to build and manage a network of contract workers,” citing examples “such as computer repair or food delivery.” TraQiQ, which is incorporated as a California company, said at the time that its business was “concentrated in India, Southeast Asia and Latin America.”

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

Renovare’s The $33 million West Virginia facility, which is the company’s primary remaining asset, is still in limbo. The facility, located on land owned by the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority, could process 110,000 tons of mixed waste annually into solid fuel (after certain recycling materials are recovered) for use in plants such as cement kilns. It officially ceased operations last year, after opening in 2019, forcing the waste authority to divert its material elsewhere.

Although the site was built in partnership with Entsorg, an Italian company that still holds a minority stake, that relationship soured over time. Entsorga sued Renovare last year for more than $1.1 million in debt, in a case that is still pending in federal court. There are no registered lawyers in Renovare’s defense.

Christopher Maloney, CEO of Entsorg’s North American division, said via email that he had not heard anything about next steps for the plant. Maloney said the company remains “interested in working with the new owner to evaluate a potential restart of the plant with Entsorga technology, but only after it is fully cleaned.”

Renovare left significant amounts of trash at the facility, which has been engulfed in fire multiple times according to the Panhandle News Network. Apple Valley Waste, a subsidiary of Gold Medal Environmental (which once had a role in the project itself), hired Renovare to mitigate the problem.

“Apple Valley Waste is committed to addressing extreme risks to the community. In December, we completed the removal of material that has until now been a constant source of fire and health risks,” Gold Medal CEO Darren Gruendel said via email. “There is still work to be done and our engagement is evolving accordingly.”

Clint Hogbin, chairman of the county’s waste management authority, said he was pleased with the progress of the cleanup and noted that more interested parties have toured the facility in recent months. He declined to reveal specific names, but said some were waste companies.

Although the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection previously told Renovare that it must continue operating until Oct. 4, 2022, or begin a permanent plant shutdown, local sources were not aware of any further state action. The agency did not respond to requests for comment.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that at some point we’ll get this back up and running,” Hogbin said. “I think the DEP is in the same position as the county solid waste authority in terms of everybody wanting to see this place again.”

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