North Charleston-based Ingevity Corp. is looking to gain a foothold in the fast-growing renewable natural gas business by partnering with a Charleston startup that converts harmful methane gas from agricultural and other sources into clean energy.
The deal with GreenGas USA is part of the chemical maker’s plan to add new ventures that focus on human health and renewable natural gas, a plan it calls Ingevity 2.0. Part of that effort is Ingevity’s work to create absorbed natural gas technology for light-duty vehicle fleets.
“Our partnership with GreenGas is a significant step in advancing Ingevity 2.0 as we work together with GreenGas to broaden the reach of RNG as a cleaner alternative energy and fuel solution,” Erik Ripple, Ingevity’s chief growth and innovation officer, told analysts during a conference call last week.
Ingevity did not announce a dollar figure for its investment but said it amounts to less than a 50 percent ownership of GreenGas. Marc Fetten, founder of GreenGas, will remain the company’s CEO.
John Fortson, Ingevity’s president and CEO, told analysts during the conference call that he expects GreenGas to post revenues of between $50 million and $60 million within the next four or five years.
Initially, Ingevity’s funding will help GreenGas expand its biogas capture and cleanup systems at hog and dairy farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants.
GreenGas also recently signed an agreement with Carolina Gas Transmission to supply renewable natural gas to wholesale and direct industrial customers through an interstate pipeline hub in Georgetown.
Ingevity also plans to use renewable natural gas produced by GreenGas to give its fleet customers “broader access to the greenhouse gas reduction benefits of RNG when used as a transportation fuel,” Ripple said.
“Ingevity stood out as the perfect strategic partner as we continue to provide customers with a growing variety of decarbonization and waste-to-value solutions,” Fetten said in a statement. “Ingevity’s strong commitment to executing strategies that create measurable environmental impacts will serve as a strong foundation for our partnership.”
Among Ingevity’s offerings are products containing activated carbon that are used to reduce gasoline vapor emissions.
Ripple told analysts that Ingevity “recognized an opportunity to apply our activated carbon expertise to the purification, transport and bulk storage of natural gas,” adding the companies will introduce a program to deploy the first use of an activated carbon bulk storage tank to demonstrate the system’s capability.
Ingevity is headquartered near the WestRock Co. paper mill, where it was incubated decades ago as a division of the former MeadWestvaco Corp. to develop chemicals from sawdust and other tree waste. Ingevity became an independent publicly traded company in 2015 and has about 1,750 employees in 25 locations worldwide.
GreenGas formed in 2019 by Fetten, the former president of Cooper River Partners, which owns the Charleston International Manufacturing Center in Goose Creek.