Clearwater Fisheries lowers its energy costs by supplying its biodegradable waste to a neighboring company that turns the material into energy. A match made not in heaven, but an industrial corridor in Chicago.
The Inner City 100
Clearwater Fisheries (#21) bones fish. Anergen Corp. burns fish bones to make gas. It was a match made not in heaven but in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor, a cluster of 500 small and midsize manufacturers on Chicago's West Side.
Kinzie had already done well by Clearwater CEO John Livaditis by helping him build a new factory and find employees. Industrial corridors, which Livaditis describes as "micro chambers of commerce," pump up the competitive energy of their occupants, but they also try to pump down energy costs. So last year, when a member of Kinzie's energy division heard about Anergen's technology, which transforms biodegradable material into energy, he performed all the introductions. "Another company, which is a neighbor of ours, is already using it [Anergen's system]," says Livaditis.
Livaditis expects the system, which he will install when the company moves to a larger building this summer, to save him a few hundred dollars a month on electricity and natural gas. That's in addition to the money he won't have to pay for removal of the fish bones, fish oil, and fish fat that are his industry's by-products. (Clearwater imports and processes fish, which it then distributes to hotels and markets.) "If our business continues to grow, we may find new uses for the system," says Livaditis. "Maybe we could use it to operate an electric power washer. That would be additional savings."
LEIGH BUCHANAN is an editor at large for Inc. magazine. A former editor at Harvard Business Review and founding editor of WebMaster magazine, she writes regular columns on leadership and workplace culture. @LeighEBuchanan