In this blog, we sit down with Harmaan and asked him a few questions about what he aims to achieve in New Zealand with climate change and 3waters reform.
Provide us with a quick snapshot of the business.
"We design, build and commission Integrated Waste Treatment Plants (IWTP), which processes mixed organic waste, such as sewage sludge and green/food waste. An IWTP prevents duplication of capital infrastructure while eliminating waste to landfills. This reduces emissions liabilities for a council. In addition, operating costs are lower as the system is energy self-sufficient."
How is it financially sustainable?
"An IWTP has four revenue streams: gate fees, energy recovery, nutrient recovery, & ETS credits. The plant begins to break even at just 7 tonnes per day, which is a fraction of a council's waste liability. At scale, an IWTP becomes significantly profitable. Investment helps us to demonstrate the utility & efficacy of an IWTP."
What evidence do you have that an IWTP can produce bioenergy?
"In 2017 I commenced developing a 1 tonne per day plant in conjunction with TERI University in New Delhi, India, to prove the efficacy of a mixed waste co-digestion process. I secured a patent for this process in 2019. An enabling and emerging policy environment drew me to NZ to bring tech to market. Alimentary Systems Limited was registered in NZ in 2021 to commercialise this technology. New Zealand's market need is clear as outlined by the Climate change Commission, 3 Waters Reform Programme and Fresh Water Bill; our product and service addresses these needs."
What is your plan to help councils address 3 waters reform?
"Councils currently spend over $40M+ per annum sending sludge to landfills. Landfill fees are increasing, carbon liability from waste is rising, which drives the viability of a bioenergy sector in NZ. In addition, 24% of New Zealand councils don't have a wastewater treatment process; we can deploy our plant in these regions where the current approach is to send the wastewater sludge to a landfill out of the area or dry it out. We are currently assessing land options for our first plant in Nelson or Marlborough. This plant will prove the efficacy of the process and demonstrate the technology to councils and the government. The next stage of our project is to fund the pre-development costs. This includes the CAD engineering design, location selection, resource consent process, grant applications and financing, civil works design and SCADA design."
Describe your environmental mission and how you intend to achieve it
"We will demonstrate a more holistic approach to waste management, which is ecologically sensitive and allows for renewable agricultural practices without compromising livelihoods. By diverting organic waste from landfills, we use anaerobic digestion to decrease associated emissions for that waste by up to 95%. As a part of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship we were selected because of our focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals."