Q & A with Sandra Sassow of SEaB Energy
Sandra Sassow is the CEO and co-founder of SEaB Energy. SEaB Energy was founded with the purpose of working towards a future in which cities or remote communities can capitalise on their waste to create renewable sources of energy and curb the negative impacts of waste collection processes. SEaB Energy’s shipping container devices can be placed behind community locations such as grocery stores and hospitals, where they use bacteria to anaerobically digest organic waste created at that location and produce usable fertiliser, electricity and water as a result. The DCSEU asked Sandra to share how this innovative technology can build a more sustainable DC.l
Q: What inspired you to design these two products?
A: The idea came about when I was with my children and the horses: I have been very fortunate to have horses. However, there is one downfall - disposing of manure! Unlike human waste management, equine waste management isn’t hidden behind large-scale industrial operations and it’s disposal is an issue that has to be managed daily on an individual basis. This is what inspired us to invent the Muckbuster - a small unit AD plant that not only provides onsite waste management but also creates electricity, heat, and natural fertiliser from the waste. Then we questioned, why can’t we do the same for other waste streams? That is when the Flexibuster was introduced - adding a pasteurisation process, all types of food waste can be converted to energy onsite.
Q: How does your work contribute to addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time?
A: What we love about our products is that the benefits are manifold. Covering at least two of the most pressing issues today; climate change and poverty. The first is obvious; the generation of green energy from waste, together with the diversion away from fossil fuel-intensive artificial fertilisers and the requirement for waste transport all work together to reduce GHG emissions. Secondly, by providing a sustainable, onsite waste-management and energy solution we are also able to support small, remote villages in less developed countries. Not only this, but our product can also improve health by disposing/processing waste and providing clean water, a by-product of Anaerobic Digestion.
Q: Where do you see your company having benefits for a city like Washington?
A: With a high population per square foot, the potential for onsite AD is huge. Imagine all the food waste from a cafeteria, and sorry to mention it, but the volume of sewage waste from a high rise building. Supermarkets, shopping centres, restaurant areas, buildings, universities... Anywhere with 1100lbs/day of food waste! All this feedstock can be fed into one of our Flexibusters and converted into into heat and energy that can be used in office blocks, hotels, hospitals or whatever it might be.
Sandra will make a presentation on SEaB's unique technology at the DCSEU 'Focus on Green Technology: Building Sustainable Cities of the Future' event tomorrow, January 24. Livestream the event via the DCSEU Facebook page starting at 9 am.