Interview with Sandra Sassow, CEO of SEaB Energy
Tue 12th May 2015
This week, our innovative tenant SEaB Energy is a finalist for the Cognicity Challenge, a pioneering future city project set up by Canary Wharf Group to identify and accelerate the development of smart city technologies. In support of this excellent opportunity, we look back at an interview with its CEO, Sandra Sassow.
Tell us about SEaB Energy. SEaB Energy was founded by me and my partner Nick. Nick is the product inventor and runs the engineering side of the company, and I am in charge of the business side. We identified a market need for a greater choice in distributed power generation options in the renewables sector, and looked at a variety of different technologies before settling on anaerobic digestion. From the outset, we have been highly market driven; a tactic which has been very successful, and which has opened many doors to us on our journey to make SEaB Energy a force to be reckoned with in the cleantech sector.
How does the technology work? MUCKBUSTER® is an anaerobic digester unit, which takes in food and various biowastes, chops it, mixes it, pasteurises it and then sends it to a digestion tank where it is consumed by bacteria. This process releases biogas, which is comparable to natural gas that can be used as a fuel to generate power or propel vehicles.
What makes SEaB Energy so innovative? Innovation isn’t just about process; form-factor is also critical to the success of any new technology. Miniaturisation has always played a crucial role in the adoption of new products and we believe the same will apply with our Flexibuster™ waste-to-energy system. Our highly mobile power plant uses microbial technology that has been dramatically reduced to fit inside a standard shipping container. We even enable remote monitoring, making it easy to inter-operate with building management systems to manage the equipment. This is an ideal size for implementation at hospitals, food producers or in cities, where there is a lot of waste but space is at a premium.
What makes the MUCKBUSTER® different? MUCKBUSTER® allows the user to sit outside of the process. It is a compact, self contained unit that can be up and running in one day; it is designed to be easy to use, simple to feed and easy to manage. Portability is beneficial to customers who are reconfiguring their site and infrastructure. The big anaerobic digestion plants require site-specific building, extensive operational management, biowaste feedstock aggregation and a whole raft of compliance detail. MUCKBUSTER® is designed for many smaller biowaste generating sites, avoiding transportation costs and providing the energy and nitrogen recovery benefit back to the site.
It’s also a system that doesn’t require a huge amount of water input, so when we deploy to regions where there is a water shortage, we can provide a low environmental impact solution with a significant energy benefit to the local community.
What sort of companies buy into this technology? Large corporations, universities, business parks, food producers and farmers are looking to “green” their business using our product. Most customers are innovators who want to take advantage of the financial and sustainability benefits that MUCKBUSTER® delivers. The reduction in waste management cost, the offset in power costs and the new green income from power generation and digestate sales are highly compelling.