BIOMASS CONVERSION EXPERTS
Our sister company Gray Brothers Septic Services, provides liquid waste hauling services to over 20,000 commercial and residential customers in Philadelphia and the surrounding western counties. Gray Brothers was started in 1929 when George B Gray identified the need for expertise and dependable service in the septic industry. The company has passed down through 4 generations of the Gray family in the past 87 years and is currently under the ownership of Amy (Gray) Spracklin, who executed an asset purchase of Gray Brothers Inc, in 2013. As the new owner of Gray Brothers, Amy hired her husband Dan Spracklin as CEO to oversee the day to day operations. Under his leadership Gray Brothers revenues have increased 30%, gross margins have increased from 66% to 92%, and net profit has risen from 3.1% to 9.2%. These impressive results were achieved by optimizing existing business operations to create efficiencies that translated into growth at all key business metrics, decreased the company’s liability, and increased company assets.
Prior to joining Gray Brothers Septic Services, Dan Spracklin spent 15 years as a business process optimization consultant in the financial services, insurance, and state government sectors. He specialized in creating value through increased efficiency in the interactions of people, processes, and technologies.
One of the first things Dan noticed when taking over the business is the magnitude of the organic waste in the local area. Rather than perpetuate the waste management status quo, of discarding that organic waste into landfills and waste water treatment plants, Dan decided to capitalize on the tremendous potential of organic waste to produce Bioenergy and reduce carbon emissions when utilized as a resource.
In March of 2014, Dan shared his vision with the Sustainable Engineering Program at Villanova University. This first meeting lead to additional presentations to Villanova faculty and students, and ultimately resulted in the creation of a sponsored research initiative to develop a Carbon Reduction Platform which would utilize all forms of organic waste as feedstocks. Over the 2 years of this research initiative, 4 masters’ theses have been written establishing a repository of knowledge and understanding of the chemical, biological, and mechanical processes which form the foundation of the Somax Bioenergy Carbon Reduction Platform. Multiple lifecycle assessments (LCAs) have been performed to understand the social and environmental impacts of the platform. The LCAs were followed by lab scale demonstrations with promising results. The carbon reduction platform is made up of 2 existing technologies; Anaerobic Digestion and Hydrothermal Carbonization. The Villanova research has identified a synergy between these two technologies which maximizes the energy production while also maximizing the positive externalities in comparison to the “business as usual” status of our current processes for waste management and energy generation.