TechGROWTH Ohio assisted venture provides equipment to combat climate change

Jasmine Grillmeier
February 5, 2015

Exeterra, LLC is a young venture developing and selling equipment for the local productions of biochar, with the help of TechGROWTH Ohio and the Ohio University Innovation Center.

The Exeter Charcoal Retort, Exeterra’s flagship product, converts waste typically disposed of by landowners – slabs of wood, branches, brush and livestock bones -into biochar in a process that both saves and makes money while combatting climate change. This machinery is intended for use by farmers, forest entrepreneurs, and compost and nursery businesses, among others.

Founded in 2015 by Scott Bagley, Exeterra is the sole United States manufacturer and seller of the Exeter Charcoal Retort, produced under exclusive license from the Carbon Compost Company of Exeter, Devon, England.

“This company had essentially created exactly what I wanted to create,” said Bagley in a TechOhio article from September. “Instead of reinventing the wheel, I entered into a licensing agreement to get their product into the United States. This allowed me to expand my customer base to include natural and organic farms, compost and greenhouse operations and livestock processors.”

Exeterra is a client of the Ohio University Innovation Center and receives assistance from TechGROWTH Ohio, both part of Ohio University’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.

“TechGROWTH has helped create a sense of community for entrepreneurs in the most rural area of the state,” said Bagley in a TechOhio article from September. “The combination of the Innovation Center and TechGROWTH is invaluable in terms of support and engagement. They both are continuing to develop new ways to help entrepreneurs. “

Early in the process, TechGROWTH Ohio helped Exeterra search for equipment manufacturing facilities and prepare the legal documents for the licensing agreement with the Carbon Compost Company. TechGROWTH continues to assist Exeterra with its market validation process by identifying the best new markets for the company and developing strong messaging for individual markets. The Ohio University Innovation Center, one of the oldest university-affiliated business incubators, offers clients like Exeterra professional office facilities, as well as access to executives-in-residence, business development seminars and networking opportunities. 

According to the International Biochar Initiative, “Sustainable biochar is a powerfully simple tool to fight global warming.” Biochar is produced from plant matter and other agricultural waste when heated in the absence, or under the reduction, of oxygen.  The end product is a fine-grained, highly porous charcoal with the ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere and then hold the carbon in soils for many years; thus, assisting the fight against climate change. In addition, biochar also serves as a great soil enhancer by making it more fertile, which can boost food security, increase soil diversity and discourage deforestation.

To aid its mission of fighting climate change, Exeterra set up an IndieGoGo campaign titled “Biochar Local: The Movement” to raise funds last month. As the campaign page stated, “[…] we truly believe we can shape the trajectory of the biochar industry to one that localizes economic opportunity and maximizes biochar's role as a tool for solving the climate crisis.”

For more information, visit exeterrallc.com.