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reNature
Location: 1475 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 200, Scottsdale, Arizona, United States United States
Founded in: 2011
Stage: Alpha (prototype)
Number of employees: 6-15
Funding history:
- Date: 06/2011, Seed: $10 k (post valuation: undisclosed amount).
Investors: ASU Edson Prize (SkySong)
Short URL: vator.co/renature
Followers (2)
Awards and mentions
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The Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative harnesses the entrepreneurial energy, excitement and creativity found in ASU’s student body. It provides funding, office space and training for teams of students across the university to explore their innovative ideas for business products and services in partnership with faculty, researchers and successful entrepreneurs from both the academic and private sectors. The program will help students succeed in any enterprise, large or small, for-profit or not-for-profit, domestic or global.
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reNature

Sustainability: It's in our nature.
Startup/business
Scottsdale, Arizona, United States United States
http://www.renatureinc.com

reNature industrializes the natural process of decomposition to provide sustainable alternatives to landfilling food waste while simultaneously creating alternatives to petrochemical based agricultural products. It is reNature’s intent to utilize man made technology in synchronized step with these natural forces rather than in opposition to them.

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Company description

Since the first Earth Day was celebrated in April of 1970 and in the ensuing forty years since, humanity has placed an ever increasing focus upon insuring the well being of the planet it calls home. While all advancement and progress comes with a price, the world began to collectively realize that existing methodologies for development were exacting a price that humanity could no longer afford. In the subsequent decades following that first Earth Day, the resulting societal thought conversion has led to a mass rethinking of means and methods of both cooperating with nature and making that cooperation economically viable. This re-thinking has brought about a new era of sustainability experimentation and has yielded some astounding results, not in opposition to the industrial revolution of the past and the technological revolution of the present but rather in partnership with both.

 

 reNature takes a unique and critical role in propelling society towards a more sustainable model by closing the loop on the nutrient cycle and reducing land fill waste. reNature will shift industrial waste management practices from an unsustainable linear process to a natural closed cycle that excels over emerging alternatives. The reNature process preserves the valuable nutrients typically burned off or buried by traditional practices. The reNature process takes aim at rising agricultural costs and addresses the concerns of Peak Phosphorus. reNature seeks to present a solution that will highlight the direction in which society must proceed. reNature keeps it simple. Rather than trying to bend nature to society’s will, reNature will accelerate the natural processes to the maximum efficiency level, lower capital startup costs, and differentiate itself in markets that other companies simply cannot afford to compete in.

 

 reNature technology presents a distributed waste disposal model that can turn around waste 10x faster than existing methods by not relying on market-specific and inefficient methane generation practices, or traditional and slow, composting methods. Throughout its process, reNature will also create permanent local jobs within the municipalities it serves.

 

The end-product will be sold directly to farmers in concentrated form, introducing strong competition in fertilizer markets. In addition to the benefits reNature’s technology can add to large scale agricultural production, the renewed focus upon purchasing locally grown produce provides an additional market incentive for reNature's technology. Further value to agricultural efforts is added in that the water byproduct of reNature’s technology can replenish local aquifers to create a truly sustainable business model.

 

Existing waste disposal alternatives require high tipping fees, exclusive government agreements for waste disposal and excessively volatile market costs for power generation from syn-gasses, or methane. While these efforts are laudable, the inefficiencies in the Waste-Methane production creates a disincentive to direct sales of the fuel. When the purity of the gas mixture is too low, it requires burning on site (56% gas ratio, vs. 80%+ needed for consumer use), or costly purification processes that squeeze methane plants out of the market. In addition to the inherently noncompetitive nature of these processes, these waste-fuel facilities burn away the valuable nutrients that can be both beneficial to the planet and profitable.  Thus far the alternative has been to dump them into the sewage systems, where treatment plants prevent them from being part of the natural nutrient cycle, or end up creating dead-zones in major fishing areas.

 

The reNature process utilizes well established bio-reactor technology with some proprietary customizations to maximize efficiency over competing processes.  By focusing on maximizing efficiency in waste disposal and value-added fertilizer production, reNature can out-compete existing technologies in most markets without requiring heavy subsidy or monopolies on waste processing.


Team
Business model

reNature creates scalable bio-reactor systems that process organic waste into nutrient rich effluent that is then concentrated into stable natural soil amendments.

reNature gets value both from tipping fees for waste like landfill and composting sites, but also on the output of the waste into natural concentrated fertilizers.

By creating highly efficient municipal organic waste facilities within each municipality reNature serves, or nearby food processing centers, reNature drastically reduces the logistical cost of waste disposal, and offers competitive tipping fees within the local market.

This distributed model for waste disposal reduces the distance waste needs to travel on vehicles that get between 2 and 3 miles per gallon, and processes waste into concentrated products less than 1/100th the volume, drastically reducing the carbon footprint of waste.

By being cost effective at small-medium scales unlike other waste processing facilities, reNature can ignite the green jobs revolution.

Competitive advantage

reNature focuses on maximum efficiency of waste disposal, rather than trying to bend nature to inefficiently produce methane or land and labor intensive solid compost. reNature’s technology offers a cost effective means of creating a world in which the best of both is not merely possible but also practical. Utilizing hydrolysis and liquefaction, reNature can build significantly smaller bioreactors that effectively turn organic waste into nutrient rich water in a matter of hours rather than weeks or months in competing solutions. This drastically reduces capital investment costs, financing debt, and operations & maintenance, by working with nature, rather than against it. Nature rules and by obtaining value from the waste input and concentrated fertilizer output, reNature creates a truly sustainable model for a Green business, allowing it to operate in markets where other waste disposal technologies cannot.

 

reNature’s facilities will be net negative for both energy and water consumption, allowing for aquifer replenishment and minimal operating costs.  These benchmarks are not the result of an expensive renewable energy infrastructure, but rather through the maximization of the efficiency of natural processes, and the innate nature of the company's process to extract vast amounts of water from organic waste.

 

The issues of climate change and global warming are very much at the forefront of all ecological concerns but there are economic issues involved in these subjects as well. Nicholas Stern, a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, head of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and a former chief economist of the World Bank, has stated: “…the costs of climate change, if not addressed, will be equivalent to losing 5 percent (and potentially as much as 20 percent) of the global gross domestic product each year, now and forever. Climate change is the greatest market failure the world has ever seen.” reNature can demonstrate both economic and environmental advantages. Our economic and environmental strategies can work for even smaller scale municipal sites (over 50 – 100 tons per day), by allowing for distributed facilities that will reduce fuel consumption of 2-3 mpg garbage trucks which typically must fill up and drive to landfill sites 20-40+ miles away. Additionally, we can reduce the problems of organic waste management for traditional land fill sites (expensive methane/leachate production) and out perform archaic and dirty incineration and waste-energy plants.

In summary, reNature’ plan will yield a plethora of benefits to agriculture specifically and to society as a whole, both ecologically and economically. It is easy for humanity to forget that planet Earth existed for millennia prior to its inhabitance of it and in that time managed to evolve, replenish itself and thrive. It is reNature’s intent to create a business model designed around what the planet already does best. reNature’s tag line is not merely a slogan; it is a foundation to be built upon. Sustainability truly is in our nature.