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Recovering nutrients from food waste

Exploring the use of digested food waste as a soil improver and biofertilizer is currently being investigated by CHAP member, IntelliDigest.

The company was recently awarded a series of grants totaling £245,000 to fund the further development of its iDigest automated bio-upcycler, which recovers nutrients from food waste. The aim is to progress the design, manufacture, and overall commercialization of the technology.

This follows the completion of a scoping project undertaken last year alongside CHAP and partner Rothamsted Research, which investigated the suitability of recycled nutrient outputs for the hydroponic cultivation of salad leaves. The project was funded through the STFC Food Network Plus.

Founder and CEO of IntelliDigest, Dr. Ifeyinwa Kanu, said: “We want to empower global food sustainability; eliminating edible food waste whilst upcycling inedible food waste back into food production in the most efficient way.

“iDigest is one of our solutions – an on-site processor that transforms food waste into a nutrient concentrate that can be used as an alternative to traditional fertilizer products.

“This is key to helping to unlock the challenges of sustainable food production on several levels. For one, it’s a simple and practical solution to local food waste. But, it also contributes towards finding an alternative to conventional fertilizers, which although play a vital role in agriculture, are carbon-intensive during manufacture and can be finite in the resource.”

The funding has been awarded from the following competitions – Innovate UK’s Analysis for Innovators and UK Fast Track Innovation Fund competitions, National Physical Laboratory’s Measurement for Recovery (M4R), and Scottish Enterprise’s Innovation Grant.

Dr. Harry Langford, Innovation Network Lead for CHAP, said: “The scoping project showed that there was the potential for further exploration of the recycled nutrients that result from the iDigest unit.

“It’s fantastic news that IntelliDigest has been awarded funding to do this important work, to accelerate the technology into the marketplace and therefore the wider benefits of this cutting-edge innovation.”

For more information:
[email protected]      


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