• 1
    Photonics – an enabling technology
    1 month agoopen0
    Photonics itsself is not a challenge to be solved. It is an enabling technology and as such can be a part of a solution for problems in the space of C13. Therefore I put it here. These are some existing trends with examples. Please feedback if there is interest for a brainstorming or other session.
  • 1
    Pre-emptive satellite prediction of food waste
    2 months agoopen0
    Use satellite imagery to predict, at the farm or local geography level (e.g. <20mile radius level), harvest time and yield of produce. Use this information to predict when and where too much food is going to be produced and likely result in food waste, and set up operations to pick up and utilise this food. Unknowns: - Where exactly food waste happens close to the farm level. Food waste closer to the farm is more prevalent in the global south, in these geographies what do farmers currently do with excess produce? Are there already local solutions that solve this problem e.g. do farmers text friends to sell of their goods cheap, do they successfully sell them at market just for lower cost, or do they fail to sell them at market? Only in this last scenario does this project, in its current wording, add value. Known issues: - Getting traction with tech use for traditional (or older) farmers - Setting up infrastructure on the ground. How do you actually pick up the excess produce? Transport it? Maybe a too good to go style app that alerts entrepreneurial local businesses to buy and sell cheap produce could work around this problem and mean no physical assets are required. Existing companies: - Apollo Agriculture, don't do quite the same thing but tangentially related. Use satellite and other data to predict which crops would grow best on different pieces of land (thanks AG for the info on them!).
  • 6
    Harnessing biogas to cultivate single-cell protein
    2 months agoopen1
    Harnessing biogas to cultivate single-cell protein (SCP) for animal feed offers a sustainable solution to rising protein demand and environmental degradation. Derived from the anaerobic digestion (AD) of organic waste, biogas, primarily methane and carbon dioxide, provides a renewable energy source. By utilizing methane oxidizing bacteria (MOB) and hydrogen oxidizing bacteria (HOB) to convert biogas into SCP, we repurpose waste into valuable protein sources without competing with food production or requiring additional land and water resources, aligning with the urgent need for a protein transition in food systems. Integration of MOB and HOB allows efficient utilization of methane and carbon dioxide, fostering a circular economy model. Advancements in cultivation modes and reactor design promise increased productivity and quality, enabling scalable, cost-competitive production. SCP, with protein content of up to 70% and high in essential amino acids, offers a solution to the global food crisis while promoting ecosystem resilience. By replacing fossil-based resources in current MOB-based SCP processes with biogenically sourced biogas, companies can enhance sustainability credentials and reduce reliance on finite fossil fuels. Biogas-derived SCP production systems could be retrofitted to existing biogas plants (of which there are over 18,000 in the EU alone). As AD is a biological process (bacterial), biogas plants are already equipped to manage the sustainable cultivation of bacteria, including employing people trained in biochemistry, and the routine use of labs (sometime on-site) for biological and chemical testing. Having been in the biogas sector since 2013, I feel I have a good understanding of the challenges and potential benefits from this idea.  My own (unverified) calculations suggest that 1,000m3 of biogas could produce an income of up to €1,700 from protein (pricing equivalent to fishmeal), versus approx. €180 income from electricity generation.
  • 3
    Specialised tools, machines, and automation for regenerative agriculture
    2 months agoopen0
    Background: Modern agriculture is highly industrialised and uses a lot of chemicals. This diminishes biodiversity and degrades the soil, reducing its carbon storage capacity. Biological agriculture is basically the same but exercises some restraint in the use of those methods. Regenerative agriculture is a set of practices that puts the health of the soil froont and center. Thereby, it imncreases its capacity to store carbon, protects biodiversity, and can even bring higher profits (cf. this recent study from BCG and NGO NABU: https://www.nabu.de/imperia/md/content/nabude/landwirtschaft/230526-bcg-nabu-studie-der-weg-zu-regenerativer-landwirtschaft-langversion.pdf ) Problem: I have visited a farm that practises regenerative agriculture. What I learned is, that the practice is still in its infancy and the tools are often built by enthusiasts themselves. This makes it very labour-intensive, inefficient, and unattractive. Solution: Develop specialised tools, machines, software, and automation to make regenerative agriculture more afficient and attractive.