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O2E Technologies: Turning the World's Waste Into Food and Fuel

O2E’s Vertical Growing Unit System is a quick and cost-effective way to produce fresh food; plants in biodegradable grow bags are arranged around a rotating shaft, which provides measured quantities of light and nutrient for rapid growth. | Image credit: O2E Technologies

Each week leading up to our SB London conference, where the winner of the SB London Innovation Open (SBIOL) will be announced on November 18, we will get to know each of our four finalists. This week, meet the SBIOL public vote winner, O2E Technologies.

UK-based startup O2E Technologies is on its way to cleaning up the world’s overflowing landfills. With its patented Municipal Solid Waste treatment system and the dedication of its engineers and scientists, O2E has developed a full waste-to-energy conversion system with which it turns various types of solid waste into new products, such as plastic into fuel (through a process called catalytic depolymerization) or food waste into compost for use in vertical growing systems.

Electrical engineer Alexander Carlo Ferrari, who pioneered several energy-saving systems such as infrared heating technology, teamed up with biogas pioneer Wilfried Schraufstetter; biowaste specialists TVG UK; and Sun State Organics US. The team combined their experience under a common company and brand, and in 2010 began developing systems in renewable energy, energy-saving and waste management as O2E Technologies. Other shareholders in the company come from technology, R&D, electric engineering, chemical engineering and food fields. Together the team developed a customizable, municipal waste-conversion module.

With O2E’s technology, cities can now turn their waste into a revenue generator — instead of having to pay for the transport and disposal of their waste to landfill, municipalities can use their existing infrastructure and O2E’s module to convert it into viable new products.

While still in the startup phase, O2E’s innovative waste-conversion systems are already in use throughout the world: A plant in Germany has converted 4,000 tons of plastic into 2,400,000 liters of fuel per year; last year in Spain, O2E converted 5,600 tons of used tires into 3,900,000 liters of fuel; and Stateside, the company has installed systems to create compost for roughly 200 of its Vertical Growing Units in Florida.

O2E’s emission-free modules can be implemented inside cities or in urban areas, and the module can be adjusted to any size and to process any kind of waste streams. Its versatility allows it to fit into existing infrastructures or buildings, and therefore into any city view or design.

O2E Technologies was voted one of Sustainia’s Top 100 list of sustainable solutions, and last week was voted people’s choice in the SBIOL by the SB community.

Next week: Meet PulpWorks.

SB Issues in Focus For more examples of #startups increasing social and environmental sustainability through disruptive innovation, check out our Issue in Focus.
SB Issues in Focus To learn more about innovative ways companies worldwide are eliminating waste, check out our Issue in Focus: #WasteNot.

Courtney has been with Sustainable Brands as the Marketing & Partnership Coordinator since August 2012.  Before joining the Sustainable Brands team, she worked in the sustainability field with My Planet, TheBlu, and the Alameda County Green Business Program

Courtney earned a Masters degree in… [Read more about Courtney Pankrat]