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Exclusive: Loamist launches biomass sourcing tool

Loamist co-founders standing in front of rice husk waste.

Loamist co-founders Andy Miller and Pete Christensen in front of a pile of rice husk waste. Photo: Courtesy of Loamist

Loamist, a startup that helps companies access and track waste biomass sources, raised a $1 million pre-seed round, the company tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The economics of biomass require sources be near the purchaser.

State of play: There are a growing amount of companies making products like sustainable aviation fuel or carbon removal tech that want to access large amounts of low-cost waste bio feedstocks.

How it works: Loamist, founded in July 2023, has built Biomass Explorer, a software tool that helps companies identify, on a county level, sources of biomass feedstocks from agricultural and forestry waste. It will eventually include data about municipal waste, wastewater and biosolids.

  • Loamist CEO and co-founder Andy Miller said the company will use the funds partly to build out its second product that will help companies audit their biomass trail, called Biomass Validator.
  • The company's first customer is startup Graphyte, which removes CO2 by burying bricks of processed plant materials underground.

Zoom in: There are some big issues with biomass right now.

  • Biomass waste is generally found in low densities, and companies need to be under 100 miles from the source to make the use of it economical, says co-founder and COO Pete Christensen. The transportation costs get too high beyond 100 miles.
  • There's also a big global problem with not managing biomass waste, and agricultural waste is commonly pile burned, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

What they're saying: "We are flipping the narrative that it's not waste. It's this abundant resource with the right framing," says Miller.

  • Circular biomass is "this enormous opportunity. It's effectively the next oil," says Christensen.

Details: The Berkeley, Calif.-based startup raised the round from climate tech investors Third Sphere, VoLo Earth Ventures, and WovenEarth Ventures. The company had previously raised $275,000 from Gigascale Capital (the fund of former Meta CTO), Activate (the nonprofit science funder), and Collab Fund, as part of their Shared Futures Fund.

Thought bubble: For now Loamist is carving out a niche around the emerging market of carbon removal companies that use waste biomass as a feedstock.

  • But sustainable aviation fuel that utilizes waste resources is an increasingly hot market.
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