Tom, Llyr and Will are the founders of WASE. Their mission is to unlock the power of waste to make it the fuel for the future. Currently, 80% of water is untreated globally. That’s a lot of water at risk of containing bacteria and viruses that can lead to serious infections.
We also have a big food waste problem, which at times is unavoidable. 1.6 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year. Most of which ends up in landfill sites releasing methane into the atmosphere. This, coupled with water waste, only adds to the growing concern of climate change.
Luckily, WASE believes they’ve figured it out. Together with their team, they’ve created a simple democratised solution. We sat down with the founders to learn how they began WASE, their business journey so far and their plans for the future.
Can you tell us a bit about your career and background before WASE?
Tom was a Product Design Manager but after some time he decided he wanted to work within the sustainability sector. So he went back to University to study a Masters in Sustainability, Entrepreneurship & Design. During his studies, he was awarded an EPSRC PhD scholarship to continue his research into electro-methanogenesis for decentralised waste-to-energy solutions. The research formed the seed from which WASE grew.
Llyr started in agriculture. He then began a career in Sustainable Civil Engineering to move into the renewables sector.
Will has always been interested in sustainable innovation and has a passion for creating positive change. In WASE, he saw a chance to use cutting-edge technology to create a new approach to civil infrastructure
What made you decide to start Wase and what does WASE do?
Globally, 80% of wastewater is untreated, which is shocking and unacceptable. One of the significant issues is our heavy reliance on centralised solutions. This is costly and hard to upgrade. There is a need to combine our current infrastructure with decentralised solutions that can treat waste onsite and reuse the valuable energy, water and fertilisers that can be recovered locally.
Integrating the circular economy is the only way to create a sustainable future. We needed this a long time ago.
Can you tell us a bit about the renewable energy sector and the opportunity for the systems you’re creating?
We are seeing huge volatility in gas and energy prices putting communities and businesses at risk. It is fantastic to see the renewables sector growing rapidly as it offers the most reliable way to guarantee growth while protecting the planet.
It’s exciting to see new solutions and technologies created every year, to tackle the multitude of problems we face. Together, we can combine these to create a hybrid energy mix of different technologies, energy sources/carriers and storage solutions for a resilient future.
Who is your customer and how have you been able to market to them?
Small food producers make up 99.2% of the manufacturers in the EU. We know they care for their community and environment and want ways to make themselves more sustainable.
We are working with the sector as there currently isn’t a solution fit for purpose. We are creating a modular plug and play solution that treats all their waste and maximises energy recovery.
Great things take a team. Who are the remarkable people helping you build Wase?
We have an incredible team with a unique passion and determination to create new solutions for the growing waste and energy issues.
Vikki has worked globally, launching new products in Asia and Africa and is leading our commercial strategy. Issy, George, Kyle, and Aeran were some of the first to join us on our journey. They’ve brought expertise in bio-electrochemical systems, engineering and design.
As we have grown, we have increased our research capabilities with Marcelo, who has over 20 years of experience in optimising anaerobic digestion. Shelby and Charles have recently joined our research team to increase capacity to analyse and optimise our customer systems.
Ultimately, what unites us is our shared values of trust, growth, innovation, making things happen, and protecting the planet.
What has been the biggest learning for the company so far?
People are everything. But you need to have a clear vision and focus to know the direction you are going in and the impact you are working towards.
What is your biggest achievement with Wase’s journey so far?
I think the most significant achievement has been growing a fantastic team that is dedicated to our vision. They have managed to do some incredible things over the past three years. It is great to see our technology installed across the world.
How are you planning on investing the money you raise from your crowdfunding campaign?
We are investing the money predominantly in the team, we know that people make great businesses. As we want to invite you to join our journey, it is important that we get the right people that will allow us to grow. To do this we will be hiring a CFO, Head of Engineering and Head of Research. Please reach out if you know someone that shares our values and is up for a new challenge.
We are also entering an exciting time where we will be building a commercial system that we will install at one of our customer sites between April to June 2022.
When you’re not working, what do you do in your spare time?
Tom loves to spend his time being active and trying his hand at various water sports, cycling, or climbing; otherwise, you’ll find him diving into a woodwork project or gardening.
Llyr was born in the beautiful Welsh countryside and loves to go for hikes and embrace the natural environment.
Will loves experiencing new things, whether that’s sampling and tasting foods from around the world or going to visit new places at home and abroad.
If you could give advice to someone entering the renewable energy space, what would it be?
Embrace other companies and solutions. There is no one solution, but multiple solutions needed to create a sustainable future. Together, we can have a greater impact.
To join WASE on their mission to protect the planet, visit their campaign here.