Three Ontario entrepreneurs are turning organic waste from Ontario’s farms and food processing plants into the province’s newest biofuel industry.

Methane from manure and other organic matter traps 21 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, making it a major contributor to global warming. But it’s also a highly potent fuel like natural gas. And, it can be converted into biogas — a form of energy produced through the anaerobic digestion of food processing, agricultural and livestock waste.

In fact, biogas offers a higher energy yield than ethanol from waste that most people consider to be unusable. For example, one tonne of banana peels can be converted into enough energy to power three trips on a 25 kilometres long streetcar line.

Working with Canada’s farmers and agri-food industries, StormFisher Biogas is constructing biogas facilities in London, Ont., Guelph and Niagara this year. At full capacity, these plants will offset the CO2 equivalent of 26,000 cars per year and create full-time jobs in rural areas, as well as indirect jobs in transportation and waste handling services.

StormFisher was the idea of three entrepreneurs — Bas van Berkel, Chris Guillon and Ryan Little, who have quickly turned StormFisher into a North American pioneer in an industry that’s already thriving in Europe.

With support from Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), the founders first explored the viability of an Ontario biogas venture. Once the potential was established, OCE connected StormFisher with researchers at the University of Western Ontario, enabling the startup to develop a business plan.

StormFisher formed a strategic partnership with a Boston-based private equity firm to develop a $350-million portfolio of biogas projects, launching StormFisher to the top of the heap in North America’s biogas sector.

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