Greentown Labs’ Most Recent Graduate: PurposeEnergy

From the moment I start talking to Eric Fitch, it was obvious he knows his beer. It’s the start of EnergyBar (Greentown Lab’s bi-monthly networking event) and the kegerator* isn’t working properly. “There are four factors that affect beer,” he tells us, “temperature, pressure, line length, and line diameter.” In this case, it was the line length, which he has showed us how to fix for future EnergyBars.

Purpose Energy
Fitch, showing Greentown Executive Director Emily Reichert how to fix the kegerator

It’s good that he is passing on his knowledge because, as the CEO of our latest graduate, PurposeEnergy, Fitch is moving on to a bigger space. Although PurposeEnergy has only lived at Greentown for a year, Fitch spent several years working out of his (very cold) garage. Luckily, just as the wood-fired stove was no longer cutting it, Greentown Labs moved into Somerville, and PurposeEnergy became one of the first new tenants.

PurposeEnergy’s move to Greentown came at an exciting time in the life of the company. As a profitable entity with its first successful project in Vermont, it had come a long way from its inception. It started from a conversation Fitch had in (you guessed it) a bar.

“I was doing healthcare IT, and decided it was time to do something different. I had been working on other people’s start-ups for a long time and wanted to do my own. It slowly dawned on me I could do whatever I wanted,” Fitch recalls. A conversation with a softball teammate who had just quit his own job to start at Harpoon Brewery got Fitch thinking about the opportunities in beer. “Right now, breweries have a problem. One barrel of beer creates over three barrels of waste!”

PurposeEnergy converts the organic waste of food and beverage manufacturers into energy that is returned to the manufacturer.  The company’s product also treats the waste water so well that it can be reused by the manufacturer for process water.   The company addresses the problem through a patented Tribrid-Bioreactor™ technology, the only sustainability solution that addresses the contemporary waste, energy, and water issues for the food and beverage industry.  Magic Hat Brewery, their first customer in Vermont, has been using PurposeEnergy technology for four years, where it has been creating quite a buzz in the industry. Last December, they signed a large deal with Dogfish Head Brewery.  More deals are in the works.  The team has grown from three to ten people since they arrived.  They began to realize that they were outgrowing Greentown. They needed a bigger space to greet potential customers and close multi-million dollar deals.

Although Fitch and his team will be leaving Greentown for new a 1,500 sq. ft. space to set up a new corporate office in a professional office building in Woburn, the connections he made here will live on.  “When I first met (Greentown Founder and Embue CEO) Jason Hanna,” he recalled, “I told him when he made a product, I’d install it at Magic Hat. Now, I’ve participated in his kickstarter, and I’m looking forward to seeing the final product.”

In the words of our operations manager, Liz Barno, “Fitch and the Purpose Energy team will be missed at Greentown Labs. They were a fun and experienced addition to the community. But we know we will see great things from them as they ramp up at their new office.” Plus, we’re sure to see Fitch and the kegerator at an event soon!

* The Kegerator is a keg fridge generously donated by Eric Fitch when he moved into Greentown. We aren’t letting it leave…