This Entrepreneur Gets Really, REALLY Excited About Compost

On an otherwise reasonable evening in July, over 1000 people packed an auditorium in Boulder Colorado for the culmination of the Unreasonable Institute. They came to watch 12 ventures, tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges, take the stage and share their plans to help define progress in our time. This is one of those talks.


The entrepreneur in this video is Brian Jerose of Agrilab Technologies.

What Does Agrilab Technologies Do?

Agrilab Technologies (AGT) takes compost, makes it better and generates renewable thermal energy (heat)! AGT provides building blocks for sustainable farming and resource management. We plan, build and sell systems to help farms, communities, institutions, businesses, municipalities and others who have existing or proposed composting operations. They can capture the heat that is generated during the composting process, through our Isobar® technology. The heat is transferred and stored in insulated water reservoirs where it averages 110­-120 deg F. The heated water can be used to heat buildings and greenhouses, use as wash water, dry commodities or meet other thermal demands.

Existing projects in Vermont, New York and New Hampshire are saving thousands of dollars in heating energy costs each year. Agrilab Technologies’ projects remove biodegradable materials from the waste stream, compost those residuals to help replenish the soil, and capture the thermal energy that is produced in the process. Heat capture provides an additional incentive to compost organic material, leading to replenished soils and improved food quality, healthier farms, protected water sources and lower input costs for food producers.

About the author

Unreasonable Institute

Unreasonable Institute

The Unreasonable Institute arms entrepreneurs creating solutions to the world’s biggest social and environmental problems with the mentorship, capital, and networks they need to do so.

  • Jcoppa

    Wow! They’ve turned something so undesirable into something useful and necessary for life. Heat. Other heat sources aren’t organic like this. They are renewable sources. Compost is an amazing resource that more of the world should be utilizing. I hope this catches on all over the world so we can sustain better energy sources, helping our Earth prosper and also keeping our bodies healthy! If we could get this into big corporations and factories, it could really sky rocket and create an entire world-wide change!

    I wonder if somehow, they can turn heat sources for compost into energy sources, like electricity…?

  • Jessica White

    There are quite a few things that I LOVE about this idea. 1. It uses what we have and doesn’t cost a lot of money to produce. 2. Its clean! 3. The compost can be used for farmers and gardeners in the community… which, in turn 4. can produce more product for compost as well as feed the community. (Keep the cycle going) and 5. it supports the community by teaching students how to grow their own food. I can’t believe that only 1% of the compost is being used for this. I would support this idea if it came into my area for sure.

  • silena_eve

    I have never heard of this method before! How interesting! I’m tempted to actually go on my own field trip now, to see how its actually done. I’ve noticed that in our day and age, there are probably only a couple of businesses who care to sort their trash and give designated trash bins for customers to use as well. Usually you can only find this option at health markets or small independent shops. How pathetic that we can’t even sort our trash because it takes too much effort. We could be providing heat! This is definitely a new idea to me, and I am going to start promoting it from now on!

  • Cameron Morrell

    My school is currently starting to compost with the waste from the food. It is very exciting and cool because of the good environmental impact. I wonder if this technology could be applied here on campus, to provide for some of our heating as well. I feel like in the future, more and more innovations related to becoming more sustainable will be more accessible, especially for colleges.

  • KE7JLM

    This is a good example of filling in a gap. While trash isn’t the most attractive business model, it was problem and problems are opportunities.