At accounting and advisory firm
Baker Tilly Virchow Krause
, industry experts advise clients on a range of issues, such as management, taxes, transactions, and international expansion. However, when the industries intersect, things can get even more interesting.
That's what's occurring among three to four practice areas within the firm, says John Jackels, Renewable Energy Development and Finance Manager, who notes that the energy group and waste management group are crossing paths with the food and beverage group. The result: huge potential for turning food waste into renewable energy.
Baker Tilly recently spoke at the International Cheese Technology Expo
, on the topic of cheese waste becoming an energy product. Although it would take an awful lot of cheese to create a major energy source, when you consider the amount of other food waste that results from manufacturing, the impact could be formidable, Jackels believes.
"Food and beverage manufacturers all have waste as a result of production," he says. "This is called 'high-strength waste' because it requires more time and energy to process. Right now, manufacturers are paying a surcharge for this service, but what if we can use that by-product for energy? Then it would be prevented from going into the watershed, and we'd have a renewable source of energy."
Baker Tilly is looking into tax credits and other federal incentives, and plans to bring together clients from its multiple industry groups to begin working toward more food-to-fuel solutions. Jackels notes that in the near future more treatment facilities could be built to handle the conversion process. Baker Tilly will look at the financial support needed to handle these projects, and play a lead role in shepherding the process.
"This type of effort is just going to continue to get larger as people look for more ways to cut down on waste and find renewable energy sources," says Jackels. "As a result, we can drive more jobs and expansion as well."
Source: John Jackels, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause
Writer: Elizabeth Millard