Cleaning contaminated water to create food

70% of frsh water is used to produce food. In the next 30 years, we will have to double our food production. If we don’t make a change, we are going to run out of water. One of the problem comes from the fish farms, that waste water with an excess of nutrients into the rivers, causing severe problems for the ecosystems and the quality of our water resources.

MicroTERRA is an innovative water solution that develops onsite water treatment systems with microalgae that transforms the wastewater into sustainable animal feed, while cleaning the water:

  • Lemna is a fast growing aquatic plant (can be harvested every 2nd dat) with high protein content (45% protein). It grows in the surfaces of water high in nutrients (i.e. fish farms). Lemna absorbs the waste of the fish, thus eliminating the need to change water.
  • Process: The wastewater from aquaculture tanks is fed into bioreactors to cultivate microalgae that feed on the nutrients. After the microalgae grow, they are harvested and used as a protein source for the fish feed. The water that comes out clean can be recycled back to the aquaculture tanks; thus saving water and preventing the disposal of untreated wastewater.
  • microTERRA’s process relies on the following innovation pillars:
    • selective biology for microalgae consortium adapted to produce more biomass
    • bioinformatics and sensors (IOT) to monitor the system remotely, reducing operation costs significantly
    • onsite and modular systems, meaning we have no transportation costs and easy to scaleup

This is a scalable, affordable and sustainable solution that will cover the growing demand for protein source while cleaning water resources. This system needs to be implemented by fish farms, that will see the benefit from saving costs in water use and additional revenues from selling the lemna as raw material for food producers.

Landfill gas for dinner: Is methane-made protein the future of food?

Problem: Landfills and sewage plants produce methane, which is a greenhouse gas and contributor to climate change. At the same time, the world’s demand for food, especially those high in protein, is soaring.

  • Two companies – Calysta Inc. (CA, USA) and String Bio (India) have independently discovered processes for converting landfill biogas to protein.
  • Methanotrophic soil bacteria ferments the methane to protein in a water-based solution, which can be dried into an edible powder.
  • The protein is currently added to animal feed, whilst human consumption trials are planned pending further purification.
  • The product can be used as a fish-meal replacement, which is currently sourced from wild commercially-caught fish, the populations of which are under immense pressure from over-fishing.
  • StringBio aims to commercialize these systems to a domestic level for community waste-to-protein initiatives.

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Bloomberg Technology: Landfill Gas for Dinner? Scientists to Cook Food From Waste (September 26, 2017)

Stakeholders interested in this technology:

  • Landfill / biogas plants / any other methane producing industrial processes
    • Plant operators
    • Waste management
  • Animal feed agribusinesses and high-protein food retailers
    • Investment team
    • Procurement and supply chain

Steps for deployment:

  1. Measure methane levels at production facility for feasibility
  2. Install methane-capture technology
  3. Send to relevant conversion company (ie. Calysta Inc.) for processing

 

AgriProtein: Turning Food Waste Back Into Food

Problem:

Protein for livestock production has become very expensive and has severe environmental implications to produce: producing agricultural protein uses a lot of land space and energy, and any protein derived from fish meal has serious marine life impacts.

Technology:

AgriProtein uses food waste to harvest fly larvae, which eats the food waste during the process, and turn it into agricultural protein. Before the larvae becoming flies, they are harvested and turned into “MagMeal” which is then delivered to chicken and fish farms.

This not only provides a cheaper form of agricultural protein but also helps to eliminate the amount of garbage wasted. As we currently waste roughly one-third (1.3 billion tonnes) of waste per year (FAO), the supply of raw materials for this technology is also abundant.

Stakeholders:

  • chicken and fish producers (customers)
  • investors
  • engineers (of technology)
  • Restaurants/Retailers/ Farms who are disposing of food waste (suppliers)

Implementation:

  • Increase funding to expand these fly farms around the world
  • Locate in areas near both chicken/fish farms as well as near large retailers to reduce transportation costs.
  • Develop strong relations with restaurants/retailers/ farms etc. who are looking to dispose of their food waste as well as with chicken/fish farms (who may also provide a source for additional food waste if an of their products die on the farm.)
  • Educate chicken and fish farmers on the benefits of this protein
    • since the chicken in the chicken industry are typically owned by the large integrators (i.e. Tysons, Perdue etc.) who have a large say in what their products eat, this step may also include educating the large companies on the benefits of AgriProtein.

Sources:

http://www.businessinsider.com/jason-drew-magmeal-farm-in-south-africa-2015-2?r=UK&IR=T

http://agriprotein.com

FAO: http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/