By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
COOKEVILLE – EKAMOR, Inc., a waste to product company utilizing municipal solid waste to create valuable energy and agricultural products, announced last week that the company has begun a regional search for a site to locate and build their corporate headquarters. This $20M project will include the headquarters, R&D department and a learning center where the public will be invited to see the conversion process in a safe environment.
According to EKAMOR VP of Business Development Sara Huneycutt, “Our processing facility will basically be built around a learning center where people of all ages can visit to see how the EKAMOR system actually turns waste materials into valuable resources.
“EKAMOR feels that sustainability is something that really needs to be taught and having the capability to see this process firsthand will have a greater impact on people,” Huneycutt continued. “The learning center will also be used to train new employees, as well as being a show room for potential clients as we move forward.”
According to company president Mark Hutchins, EKAMOR was contracted by an Upper Cumberland county a couple of years ago to perform a waste audit giving county officials an idea of the make up of their municipal solid waste. Results of the audit will help the county make its waste management decisions moving forward.
The audit results were typical in the makeup of the municipal solid waste. Because of limited recycling efforts, the county was landfilling recyclable materials worth over $3M annually, even at today’s historically low recycle prices.
“Our process can capture these recyclables and transform the remaining fraction into usable and valuable products,” explained Hutchins.
EKAMOR’s research shows that there are over 170 counties within a 400-mile radius with a population of 70,000 or more. The company has conducted preliminary discussions with many of these municipalities and has found that less than 15% have any active recycling programs. Further, most officials understand that due to the accelerated number of landfill closures, they need to look for other methods of managing their waste.
EKAMOR is the first waste-to-product company of its kind. Its system first removes any valuable materials that can be recycled from the waste stream, and then non-thermally dries and pulverizes the remaining waste so it can be used as a valuable renewable alternative for processes, such as producing energy or biofuels, or processed further into valuable agricultural products. Creating a circular economy in waste management, EKAMOR’S system produces a near-zero landfill solution.
“The Upper Cumberland is home and is high on our list for a corporate base,” added Hutchins. “We are actively meeting with officials across the region to identify the ideal spot in which to highlight this technology. We anticipate making the location announcement this fall.”
According to Hutchins, EKAMOR expects to hire 26 employees the first year, ramping up to 70 by year three and 100 by their fifth year in business.