Farment’s fermentation process could help enrich soil – and Canada’s economy  

July 5, 2023

Biogas is a booming industry right now.  

An important source of renewable natural gas (RNG), biogas is produced through the anaerobic digestion of organic materials, including the kind you find in green bins, landfills and on farms, such as food scraps, manure and crop residues.  

However, biogas production also generates a waste product called “digestate,” which provides little or no value to biogas producers. While digestate can be used as a fertilizer, it’s such low quality that biogas producers often must pay farmers to take it away. 

Ralph Lett, Co-Founder of FarmentTM BioSolutions, is working to change that. His company is developing an innovative waste treatment system that transforms digestate into a valuable organic fertilizer.  

Ralph Lett stands in front of 16-foot corn, thanks to Farment’s soil additive

The system uses the power of fermenting fungi to create a product with a very stable and available form of organic nitrogen for plants. The resulting fertilizer is so effective, it can restore degraded soils and make crops more resilient to extreme weather.  

The beauty of Farment’s system is that it also produces biogas as a by-product of the fermentation process. 

“Our technology could be used by biogas companies to produce additional biogas for sale, as well as create a great fertilizer that farmers will want to buy,” explains Ralph Lett, Co-Founder of Farment. “It would allow biogas producers to increase their revenue, while reducing carbon emissions.” 

NPC’s Proof of Concept Program is providing the company with $105,080 to perform a large-scale demonstration of its innovative fermentation system, which Farment has already proven in small-scale lab tests.  

This time, Farment is partnering with EverGen, a Canadian RNG company, which is supplying 26,000 liters of digestate from one of their facilities – Fraser Valley Biogas in Abbotsford, B.C. Farment will ferment the digestate in their new facility in Vernon, B.C. and have samples third-party tested by independent labs for levels of available nitrogen and to confirm they are pathogen-free.     

Farment expects to have results from their trials in about six months. One of their goals is to prove the value and effectiveness of their system to companies like EverGen. Farment has identified another 275 Canadian and 2,300 American biogas facilities that could also be suitable for their technology, which they estimate would generate about 350 million dollars annually.  

“Economically, this could be very positive for Canada,” says Luigi Simpatico, Finance Manager at Farment. “But without support from NPC, it just wouldn’t be possible. These field trials are critical to ensure our technology can work at scale, and this funding is exactly what we need to get closer to market.” 

Want to learn more about our Commercialization Programs and other ways we help advance bio-based innovation? Contact your local Regional Director.