When Michael Bryan-Brown, President of Green Mountain Technologies (GMT), first heard Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order on March 23, his first reaction was, “Oh sh*t.” The good news is that composting was designated as an “essential business” for most of the US and Canada.
With multiple Aerated Static Pile (ASP) composting systems scheduled for installation in April and May, he wondered how GMT would keep these projects on track, while also keeping staff safe.
Fear quickly transformed into action. The electronics technician, Jake Saavedra proposed a unique solution. He suggested a remote installation and startup via the internet.
Because GMT’s web-based composting technologies, they were well-equipped for the travel bans and worker risks from COV-19. GMT’s WebMACS system brings composting to the new IOT (Internet of Things) standard. Simply defined as “A network of internet-connected objects able to collect and exchange data.”
THE COMPOST SOFTWARE
GMT’s WebMACS (web-based composting technologies) has been a signature feature of GMT’s ASP systems for years. The web-based app can be accessed from any device and automates the composting process without the need to have a technician on-site. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this technology has become critically useful to achieve remote installation.
Every 10 seconds, WebMACS performs routine checks on compost piles and generates tables and graphs (see images above) that can be monitored by the client or GMT. If WebMACS finds temperature, pressure, oxygen, etc. that are out of optimal ranges, the app automatically adjusts the aeration system to maintain ideal microbial decomposition. This system improves energy efficiency by 30% or more and accelerates composting by delivering only the amount of aeration required by the compost at any given time.
FIRST SUCCESSFUL REMOTE INSTALL: BOOST ORGANICS
The Boost Organics project is the first successful remote installation during COVID-19. Located 50 miles outside of Vancouver, British Columbia at Cedarwal Farms, a family-owned dairy farm, the Boost Organics project plans to mix food waste from the Vancouver metro area and cow manure in their Aerated Static Pile facility to generate marketable nutrient-rich compost. Many farmers enjoy the benefits of composting:
- Higher value product than raw manure
Additional income from tip fees
Controlled nutrient run-off due to mineralized nutrients
Instead of risking traveling across the border during a global pandemic, GMT used web-based composting technologies to install and perform necessary debugging and calibration of its system. This process was made easier because of WebMACS and CompDACS.
Jake worked with local electricians, construction teams, and welders to set up the GMT ASP aeration hardware installation in the new building. Remote installation reduced travel costs and reduced the chance of transmitting coronavirus.
ESSENTIAL WORKFORCE AND DEDICATION TO REDUCING CARBON FOOTPRINT
In addition to the success of cloud-based technologies, GMT works with clients that provide waste management, an “essential workforce” during COVID-19. Even better, GMT clients are dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint, investing in new streams of income, and not wasting valuable resources that could be put to good use.
SHEER ABILITY TO PIVOT AND RESPOND TO CHANGING CLIENT NEEDS
Overall, GMT has shown high business resiliency during COVID-19 and hopes to continue to serve clients with their IOT technologies and web-based communications.
Looking to start composting? Get in touch with us here.
Written by Theo Fehsenfeld, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability Entrepreneur