Gas-from-waste company expects big year

The adage that one man’s trash is another’s treasure could serve as the mission statement for CryoEnergy International.

The company sells equipment that helps landfills, wastewater-treatment plants, coal mines and other sites convert methane and carbon-dioxide byproducts into liquefied natural gas that can replace diesel fuel in trucks or industrial machinery.

Based in Massachusetts, CryoEnergy has 20 employees between its marketing-and-research office in Monroe, WA and a manufacturing plant in Sultan, WA.

By Jane Hodges
Times Snohomish County bureau

Liquefied natural gas is a form of fuel generated by compressing vapors at a very low temperature. Also known as LNG, it can be used in specially outfitted vehicles, many industrial settings or as an ingredient in other forms of gas.

"This fuel is being used more and more to replace diesel fuel," said Bob Wojnarowski, CryoEnergy’s vice president of business development, marketing and sales, noting that natural gas is less harmful to humans and the environment.

Natural gas, including its liquefied form, accounts for 24 percent of U.S. energy consumption, according to Bill Trapmann, a senior economist at the U.S. Department of Energy.

"We expect this market to grow dramatically in the next 20 years," he said.

Though CryoEnergy sells equipment for developing liquefied natural gas, Wojnarowski said, it ultimately wants to sell liquefied natural gas directly.

CryoEnergy typically builds a 40- by 60-foot single-story plant at each facility that buys its equipment. Those companies then store the liquefied natural gas generated at the site. LNG-fueled trucks can pump tanks full of the gas, or tankers can transport the LNG elsewhere for other uses.

CryoEnergy incorporated last fall, after licensing technology and patents from CryoFuels, which had tested and patented gas-conversion technology commercially since 1999. CryoEnergy’s first customer was Applied LNG Technologies, a Texas-based seller of natural gas that is using CryoEnergy equipment to generate LNG at a Stockton, Calif., industrial site.

Waste Management, a Houston-based hauling and disposal firm, has purchased CryoEnergy systems to convert byproducts from four California landfills into liquefied natural gas for its fleet of 120 LNG-fueled trucks.

The systems will generate 6,200 gallons of liquefied natural gas per landfill each day, said Frank Mazanec, senior vice president of Onsite Energy in Carlsbad, Calif., a consulting firm involved in the purchase. He said Waste Management will begin using the equipment by early next year.

This year, Wojnarowski said, the company plans to raise $8 million in venture capital, though he declined to name the investors committed to date. The company also plans to multiply revenue dramatically this year, bringing sales to $11 million, up from $250,000 in 2002.

If the company succeeds with its sales goals, it will turn a profit next year.

Jane Hodges: 425-745-7813 or [email protected].

Copyright © 2002 The Seattle Times Company

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