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Name: Mario Alejandro Rosato
Company: Sustainable Technologies srl
What are you building and who does it help?
I developed a method for the optimization of the anaerobic digestion process and have been fine-tuning it for the last 10 years. The method is based on technology from Swedish company BPC Instruments (formerly Bioprocess Control AB). Sustainable Technologies is its distributor in Italy and Spain. I have trained more than 200 professionals to manage the biological process of digestion with my method and published a book on it in 2017. In 2022, Book Authority recognized it as one of the 100 best books ever on chemical engineering.
What has been the biggest challenge so far and how did you solve it?
Proposing disruptive methods and technologies is always difficult because there are already established companies, academicians, and people in general who are accustomed to doing things a certain way and are unwilling to change even if that way is wrong or suboptimal. The key to overcoming this problem is educating the customer and participating in congresses and technical commissions that set standards. For instance, part of chapter 2 of my book was included in the Italian Standard UNI/TS 11703: Method for the measurement of the BMP of feedstock for anaerobic digesters.
What tool or app could you not live without and why?
Search engines are a must in scientific research. I could not have developed my method if I hadn’t employed such accurate and precise instruments as my AMPTS (Automatic Methane Potential Test System), Gas Endeavour, and Bio Reactor Simulator.
What marketing strategies have worked for you?
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Publishing books and articles, participating in technical congresses, and providing technical training to experts.
What’s the best specific piece of advice you have for other entrepreneurs?
Whatever your branch is, define the standards for measuring your process and be aware that measuring is worthless if you can’t calculate your uncertainty margin. Many projects have failed because they were based on experimental data obtained from poor measurements.
What does your company’s trajectory look like over the next five years?
Consultancy and laboratory instrumentation for anaerobic digestion is a niche sector. Demand depends heavily on oil and gas prices, but also on policy making. Nowadays, the EU is spending too much money to support the mirage of a hydrogen economy, which, in my opinion, is destined to fail because of thermodynamic considerations. Since the cake is always the same, cutting a bigger slice for the hydrogen industry automatically means a smaller slice for anaerobic digestion. This is a pity because the EU has enough organic waste to offset at least 1/3 to 1/2 of its current imports of natural gas with biomethane.
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