Meet Marisa Zuzga, Founder and Chief Engineering Officer of ZERE (Zero Emissions Renewable Energy). ZERE is using the ProspectSV Demonstration Center to develop and validate their pilot scale unit; a fuel flexible system that uses biogas (and eventually biomass) to produce on-site combined heat and power.
ProspectSV: What motivated you to create ZERE?
Marisa: My friend and business partner had worked with me at a previous cleantech startup and he came to me with the idea of trying come up with something new. He had done a bunch of research that led him in the direction of this type of chemical looping technology. We thought it had a lot of potential as a carbon capture technology and a clean energy technology, so, in 2007, we decided to start doing more research and see if we could make something of it. I’ve continued to pursue our goals since his death in 2012.
ProspectSV: What about this particular field of technology is important to you? What’s driving you?
Marisa: I would say it’s a passion-driven endeavor by wanting to find ways to improve our world through clean technology. Power generation with zero emissions is a good thing. It helps make people’s lives better.
ProspectSV: What do you like about working for a startup company?
Marisa: The best thing is that you really get to follow your passion in terms of trying to do something that you feel is good for world. It also has advantages in terms of just being your own boss. It’s fun some days, a struggle other days. But basically, it’s flexible and it gives you a chance to follow what really motivates you.
ProspectSV: What did you want to be when you “grew up?”
Marisa: It’s funny, because my sister knew when she was super young that she wanted to go and be a veterinarian or go into veterinary technology, and that’s what she does. She’s a veterinary nurse. But, I was like kind of all over the place as a kid. I want to be a doctor, or be a whatever, I just had no idea until high school. Then I settled on mechanical engineering, which is what I got my degree in and I apply with this business. Although, the technology itself is a little bit more skewed towards chemical engineering, but overall it still very much falls into that realm of mechanical engineering. I’m actually doing what I went to college, which I know sometimes seems rare.
ZERE Energy and Biofuels, Inc. formerly Clean EnGen Group, LLC, was formed in 2008. ZERE filed a patent for its core technology in 2009 and an additional patent in 2010. The ZERE solution uses biomass waste such as wood, paper and grass clippings, or biorefinery waste as fuel for our patent pending process, which then feeds into an off the shelf power generation cycle to produce on-site combined heat and power. The system has inherent CO2 liquefaction and capture that provides a cheap, price stable, zero emission energy supply. The use of biomass combined with zero emissions leads to easy permitting and low site impact. Learn more at www.zerechp.com.