Dealflow | March 2, 2023

Divert raises $1.1 billion to convert food waste into renewable natural gas

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, March 2 — Concord, Mass.-based company has raised $100 million in growth equity from investors including Ara Partners and Canadian oil giant Enbridge. Enbridge is also providing $1 billion in structured project finance to Divert to build large-scale anaerobic digestion facilities. The process uses microbes to break down food and animal waste in oxygen-less tanks to produce renewable natural gas while sequestering the methane and carbon.

Divert has worked with thousands of U.S. food retailers to curb food waste. “These stores generate about 600-700 lbs of wasted food daily that they can’t sell,” said Divert’s Nick Whitman. “When you scale that to 50,000 retailers across the country, it becomes such a significant scale that in many ways it’s hard to grasp.” Divert currently works with 5,400 food retail stores, with more than 1,000 additional stores already under contract in 2023.

Green infrastructure

Through the billion-dollar partnership with Enbridge, Divert says it will build large-scale anaerobic digesters in every major geographic region in the U.S., within 100 miles of 80% of the U.S. population, in the next eight years. The U.S. is responsible for more than 90 million metric tons of food waste each year. Divert says the anaerobic digestion facilities could offset up to nearly 400,000 metric tons of carbon annually.

Biogas transition

Renewable natural gas is interchangeable with conventional natural gas and has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emission by up to 236 million metric tons by 2040. Enbridge is one of the latest oil majors looking to phase out fossil fuels via renewable natural gas.

Divert signed a 10-year, $175 million offtake agreement with BP late last year. BP will purchase renewable natural gas generated from three Divert facilities in development in California, Pennsylvania and Washington.