In our latest episode of NothingWasted! Podcast, we spoke with Dani Charles, Co-Founder of Veriflux, an EPA-funded technology platform that provides traceability across complex renewable fuel supply chains. Their fats, oils and grease (FOG) mobile app is designed to help FOG collectors and processors keep track of pickups, manage customers/accounts, design and optimize routes, and more.
Charles shares valuable insights about bringing diverse stakeholders together, the market for renewable diesel, the power of data, and more.
Here’s a sneak peek into the discussion:
Waste360: Can you tell us about Veriflux and its origin story?
Charles: Veriflux is an end-to-end traceability solution that’s geared primarily for recycled waste that’s going into renewable energy. To give you a sense of why it’s important, it really goes back to the requirements on the books for documenting renewable energy that comes from waste sources. The EPA has its renewable fuel standard that has record-keeping requirements. There are a lot of low-carbon fuel standards, the most notable coming out of California, that have documents as well as other requirements around tracking. And, in order to be able to do that, you really need to be able to trace the feedstocks going into renewables, back to their point of origin. When you’re talking about recycled waste that can be really difficult to do. Tracking, for instance, used cooking oil from [a particular McDonald’s]. You have to be able to prove that you renewable fuel is actually coming from that recycled waste. This is why my co-founder, Scott, and I ultimately decided to found Veriflux.
Waste360: Your model is really based on collaboration. Can you talk about that?
Charles: When you’re talking about waste-to-energy, you’re really talking about a supply chain, which, in most cases is not fully integrated. There are a lot of stakeholders, and when you have to trace materials you really have to have a lot of people collaborating. You need the company that picks up the waste collaborating with the company that processes it collaborating with the company that further refines it and then ultimately the company that produces into fuel—and then the company that consumes it. Historically no one along this supply chain wanted to share this information—competitive, sensitive information. Part of what we did in building Veriflux was to create a mechanism where everyone would feel comfortable because we anonymize the data when it is shared—and provide a common platform. A regulator can see the raw data comprehensively.
Waste360: Could you share about your pilot program with New York City and WM?
Charles: We’ve been really excited to participate in that program, which started in September and concluded in December. We were tracing waste materials from restaurants and some other locations, through processing and ultimately into New York City’s Newtown Creek facility, which creates biogas. I think what will come out of that pilot is, it will showcase what you can do when you have that data, and what you can do from enforcement and incentive perspectives.
Waste360: How big is the market for renewable diesel production?
Charles: Renewable diesel has been growing at a compounded annual growth of around 33% year over year. Of course, when you talk about renewable fuel, there are obviously a number of different categories including wind, solar, biofuel. Historically, biofuel has been considered biodiesel; more recently, though, there’s been a transition to more renewable diesel, which is a drop-in fuel. Because of that [ease], there’s been an increased focus on it.
Listen to the full episode above.