Biofuel and energy company Biodico has been awarded $1.2 million in grants to bring on-site renewable energy to more US farms.
Biodico, which is primarily backed by high net worth individuals, has partnered with the Red Rock Ranch in San Joaquin Valley to develop systems combining solar, wind and farm-waste biofuel which would enable farms to be “off-grid”. The grant came from the California Energy Commission.
“Our goal is to establish a template for ranches, farms and other agricultural interests throughout California’s Central Valley and beyond,” said Biodico president Russ Teall.
“There is a great need today for establishing a rational business case for tomorrow’s energy efficient farm,” said JJ Rothgery, chairman of the board at Biodico and chief executive of private equity firm PIFC Capital.
Agtech investors are increasingly seeking opportunities to monetise waste in the agri sector. In December last year, US firms True North Venture Partners and Industry Ventures invested $20 million in food recycling and anaerobic digester company Harvest Power, alongside UK firm Generational Investment Management. Institutional investors such as the New Zealand Superannuation Fund have also put their money into the biotech and agri recycling space.
“This project comes at a particularly important time as California’s agricultural community searches for more efficient ways to produce, process and store more than 400 food, fibre, flora and fuel crops, not to mention convert biomass into electricity,” Teall said.
Biodico has built five biofuel plants, and sold its stakes in the viably established facilities to venture partners. Biodico president Russ Teall told Agri Investor in December that the company may consider launching a Nasdaq IPO this year.