EarthRenew is a technology company that transforms livestock waste into a high-performance organic fertilizer for the North American market.
The demand-drivers for ERTH’s products have a tail-wind: due to the encroachment of suburbs, arable land is being lost at the rate of over 38,000 square miles per year.
Land devoted to organic farming however is increasing. “The U.S. organic sector posted a banner year in 2019, with organic sales in the food and non-food markets totalling a record $55.1 billion, up 5% from the previous year”.
ERTH sold 25 tonnes of its organic fertilizer product to NorthWind Land Resources, a land reclamation company.
The fertilizer is being used by NorthWind at an oil wellsite reclamation project near Red Deer, Alberta.
NorthWind performs analyses of soil, vegetation and landscapes prior to disturbance and after reclamation. Its services include: Determining type and rate of soil amendments, developing suitable seed mixtures, monitoring of reclamation and revegetation success.
Oil wellsite reclamation is an interesting niche market for EarthRenew.
The Alberta government just threw a billion dollars at the problem (more on that later).
But in that province, there are bigger fish to fry.
On September 8, 2020, EarthRenew announced that it has submitted an expression of interest (EOI) to Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) on behalf of a larger consortium of project partners.
The total cost of the project that is the subject of the EOI is estimated to be $4.8 million.
ERA’s call for proposals is focused on agriculture, agri-food, and forestry. Alberta now produces over 40% of Canada’s total cattle inventory, 33% of the country’s wheat, 32% of its canola, and half of its barley.
If selected, EarthRenew could receive up to $1 million in funding to support the expansion of its Strathmore facility.
Located on a 25,000 head cattle feedlot, ERTH’s flagship Strathmore plant in Alberta is capable of producing up to four megawatts (MW) per hour of low-cost electricity powered by a natural gas fired turbine.
The exhausted heat from the turbine is used to convert manure into certified organic fertilizer.
This summer, ERTH published preliminary results of a feasibility study involving one of the largest feedlots in the southwestern U.S. which could provide ERTH with a strategic operational location in “one of the world’s largest organic farming markets”.
“In Alberta, the size of the reclaimed site is 3-acres and NorthWind used specialty equipment to apply 7.69 tonnes per acre of EarthRenew’s GrowER fertilizer product in a sub soil application,” states ERTH.
“The site currently faces serious soil compaction and aeration issues that limit crop growth as proponents return the site to equivalent land capability.
Applying EarthRenew’s GrowER fertilizer to the soil subsurface at the site is expected to enhance natural microbial activity, improve soil health and facilitate vegetation growth.
“The GrowER fertilizer product has proven to be very helpful in reclaiming soil,” stated NorthWind’s Robbie Price, “by improving soil fertility and chemistry and promoting root medium development”.
During pellet injection, NorthWind uses “paratilling.”
“Paratilling is a form of non-inversion deep tillage sought after by producers for its effectiveness at loosening soil structure,” states the University of Saskatchewan, “Without compromising the soil conservation practices”.
“This type of product and process can help accelerate soil development in heavily compacted soils,” added Price, “and it provides us with another tool to address the negative environmental impact that remains once an oil wellsite is closed.”
“We are very excited to kick-off sales in 2020 and to see our product used in reclamation projects,” stated EarthRenew’s CEO, Keith Driver, “There is a huge opportunity within the province of Alberta as there is an urgent need to reclaim numerous sites as a result of oil and gas development.”
EarthRenew also announced the appointment of Kerri Lee McGovern as Chief Operating Officer (COO) effectively immediately.
Kerri Lee McGovern has over 20 years of operations experience in the technology and venture financing industries. Kerri’s responsibilities include leading growth and scaling ERTH’s operations. Kerri holds a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Alberta and an MBA from the University of Victoria.
This year, Canada’s Oil & Gas spend plummeted from $37 billion to $23 billion. Many companies are walking away from their wells.
“Alberta has had a problem with well abandonment and reclamation,” states Lexpert Publications, “In April, the federal government gave $1 billion to Alberta to clean up and do abandonment and reclamation work and $200 million in a loan to Alberta’s Orphan Well Association to clean up abandoned wells”.
The Supreme Court of Canada’s January 2019 decision in Orphan Well Association v. Grant Thornton Ltd. – forces oil companies to pay for reclamation before settling other debts.
We like the idea of ERTH participating in the $1 billion Alberta oil well clean-up.
But with its patented modular design, ERTH’s technology could be deployed anywhere in the world, including Europe and California.
“California continues to have the greatest number of organic farms and the largest amount of certified organic acreage,” states USA News last year, “but other states – most notably in the South – saw significant growth in organic farming.”
On October 8, 2020 EarthRenew (ERTH.C) entered into a financing facility for up to $10-million with Alumina Partners (Ontario), an affiliate of New York-based private equity firm Alumina Partners LLC.
On August 26, 2020 ERTH announced results from its germination trial with Lethbridge College.
During the germination phase, the first 7-10 days of growth, the different fertilizer formulations showed a 169-207% improvement over the control in plant growth for barley and 10-49% improvement over the control in plant growth for peas.
ERTH’s fertilizer pellets are custom-made for organic farmers.
Apparently, the pellets can also help turn oil well sites into arable land.
- Lukas Kane
Full Disclosure: EarthRenew is an Equity Guru marketing client.