AgTech Greenhouse

AgTech startup AppHarvest partners with Dutch government to create America’s AgTech capital

AppHarvest, a startup building North America’s largest greenhouse, announced it’s partnership with the the governments of the Netherlands, the state of Kentucky and several universities and private companies to create an AgTech capital in Appalachia. The venture will partner with local and international experts to help boost the state’s economy, while increasing the country’s food supply.

Signatories to the agreement include the following:

  • Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature & Food Quality (LNV), Directorate International Affairs.
  • Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Office of the Governor
  • Dutch AgTech companies Dalsem, Signify, Certhon, Light4Food, Priva and Rijk Zwaan
  • The Netherlands’ HAS University of Applied Science and Fontys University of Applied Sciences
  • The University of Kentucky, Morehead State University, University of Pikeville, Eastern Kentucky University and Berea College
  • Dutch public-private network organization NLWorks
  • AppHarvest

“It means we don’t have to invent the wheel, that we have partners that have done this, that have created what we are looking to create. It’s an opportunity to build our economy in a way where we never have to worry about whether there’s going to be food on the shelves of our grocery stores.”

Andy Beshear, Governor of Kentucky

The company says it expects to eventually deliver produce to not just grocery stores in Appalachia but also those in surrounding states. Located within a day’s drive of 70% of the U.S. population, our base in Appalachia allows us to pick our fruits and veggies when they’re ripe and reduce diesel use in transportation by 80%.

“This long-term partnership will add jobs and create a new signature industry for our Appalachian region. It also demonstrates the kind of international cooperation that we need more of on the national level.”

Jonathan Webb, CEO & Founder, AppHarvest

AppHarvest is building some of America’s largest greenhouses, combining conventional agriculture techniques with today’s technology to grow non-GMO, chemical-free produce. AppHarvest greenhouses offers huge advantages vis-a-vis conventional agriculture. These include:

  1. 90% less water: Our high-tech greenhouses distribute water more efficiently, reducing usage by up to 90%.
  2. 365 days production: Growing indoors eliminates weather and seasonal constraints, empowering our region with a resilient food source.
  3. 40% less gas: Our hybrid lighting system with Philips GreenPower LEDs increases harvests while reducing natural gas usage in cooler months.

Gov. Beshear also signed an executive order creating the Governor’s AgriTech Advisory Council, which he will chair and will include several other leaders of state and local government, business, and education.

Read more at The Lane Report

AgTech Research

High-performance PPE masks using wool

Lincoln Agritech, a multidisciplinary research and development company owned by Lincoln University in New Zealand, has received $290,000 in government funding to create biodegradable wool-based personal protective equipment (PPE) masks for COVID-19 pandemic response. Established in 1964, Lincoln Agritech delivers leading-edge science and engineering knowledge and technologies into environmental, primary, processing and new materials applications.

The products will reduce dependence on overseas producers during high-demand pandemic events and reduce the environmental impact of PPE use. The 18-month research programme is using patented technology from the Wool Research Organisation (WRONZ) to change the physical format of the fibre and improve its absorption and virus-neutralising properties, making the masks both highly effective and environmentally sustainable.

“Wool was an ideal material for the filtration and binding needed to develop PPE, but its coarse structure could present limitations. This research will use newly-developed technology that completely changes the physical form of the wool fibre, creating the light, paper-like membranes that look and feel much more like the PPE masks we typically see mass produced.”

Dr Rob Kelly, New Materials Group Manager at Lincoln Agritech

The programme is funded by the $13.57-million COVID Innovation Acceleration Fund (CIAF) announced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in March to boost New Zealand’s ability to respond to current and future pandemics.

Lincoln Agritech has established its wool research and product development capability over several years of partnership with the wool industry through WRONZ, Wool Industry Research Ltd (WRONZ’s research subsidiary) and MBIE. Lincoln Agritech will work closely with WRONZ and local manufacturers, including Christchurch-based FibreTech, with assistance from Auckland filter experts, Lanaco.

Read more at Lincoln Agritech

AgTech Water

LTI (Liquid Technology International) Water Treatment Technology

LTI Water Enhancement Technology (LIWET) is the technology which changes the structure of water and enhances its function and benefits to the livings on the globe. LIWET can be applied to any type of water including city water, well water, river and lake water, and even sea water in which each of those applications there could be some outstandingly good effects. 

LIWET simply requires the consistent agitation of the sufficient amount of the specific ceramic beads made from 100% natural ores and the high standard of the stainless steel unit. 

The basic mechanism of LIWET is

  1. to make water particle tiny (much smaller),
  2. deionize the minerals in water and absorb impurities or substance in water which is positively charged and
  3. provide the positive charge to water ( cationize water ).

Prior to the use of LIWET water, my crop was salt and nitrogen burnt with sparse development. The use of LIWET Water has reduced the nitrate and sodium levels to significantly more manageable ranges and the proof is evident in the health of my crop. I highly recommend the LIWET Unit to the Dairyman and Farmer to help manage toxic levels of salts, hard minerals and nitrates. As well as a better value in the feed and rations we feed our cows. I have seen nothing but improvements since using the treated water. 

Carl Souza, Owner, White River Dairy, Stratford, CA 

LTIs significantly high CEC (Cation Exchange Capacity) of the ceramic beads which is created by the constant agitation of our ceramic beads, causes a thermoelectric current that creates a positive charge to the water. CEC ( Cation Exchange Capacity ) of LTI’s ceramic beads is 100~150 meq/100g which is far more than other ceramic beads. CEC of other ceramic beads are mostly less than 50meq/100g. This water activation results in the following effect:

  1. Surface tension of water is significantly reduced so that water have the stronger cleansing effect and water can be absorbed very easily by human, animals and plants and goes into their cell smoothly.
  2. Water can be free from minerals so that hard water can become remarkably soft water. 
  3. Water have significantly antioxidant effect which can kill germ, bacteria or E.coli and some other toxic substances. 

LIWET water increases the solubility of water; within the animal this allows it to realize more nutritional value from its food as well as increasing the effectiveness of medications and supplements by up to 30%. LIWET Water has unique antibacterial and antioxidant properties; these values would ultimately contribute to better quality meat and longer freshness in packaged meat.

Don E. Bice, Jr.

LITWET is proven to have so many good effects on many applications including the following applications where there are immediate effects:

  1. Humans: Uniquely organized hydrogen activated water for drinking with antioxidation effect. It preserve food stuffs in a sanitarily good condition and prevent such food stuffs from being oxidised. It possesses cleansing effect, so that less detergent materials would be required for washing clothes or dishes and deodorant effect, by spraying LIWET water into the substance having bad odour. It provides nice moisture to human skin.
  2. Livestock: It is proven that LIWET water can provide so many benefits to any and all of livestock including chicken, duck, pig, hog and cattle. It significantly reduces the morality rate (e.g. from 18% to 3% in the case of duck) and shorten the cycle of growth (e.g. from 40 days to 32 days in the case of the duck). Moreover, LIWET water significantly reduce the use of antibiotics and help in weight gain in livestock.
  3. Agriculture (fruits and vegetables): It promotes use of less water (35~50% less), less fertiliser (40~60% less), less pesticide (60~80% less) and results in greater harvest (15~30% up ), greater sugar concentration(15~20% up ) and soil remediation (increase of major fertiliser elements like phosphorous and potassium.
  4. Medical: It is fully proven that LIWET can have significant effects on the dialysis equipment where the longevity of RO membrane can be greatly extended and can save patients from having any toxic materials which could be generated from the dialysis equipment when RO membrane is used. It is expected that LIWET can be applied to any other medical field due to its strong antioxidation effects. 
  5. Industrial: LIWET can remove scale or slime in water very efficiently so that it can save the cost of chemicals to clean up the cooling tower. The use of LIWET can also extend the longevity of the pipes since LIWET can remove scale and slime, and can restrain rust from building up. 

 In my nearly 25 years as a consulting agronomist, I have never seen one product that affects so many areas of the growing process. The conclusions are a demonstration of its benefits to soil development, reduction of chemical input, improved plant health, higher yields, more efficient water use and, therefore, lower costs and higher ROI. In an era of shrinking margins, rising water and fertilizer costs and increased sensitivity to wise stewardship of those resources, this product addresses most concerns in a cost effective and environmentally beneficial manner. 

Paraiso Organics Inc., Sugar Loaf Canyon

The above-mentioned effects have been dully proved at least in the following institutions: Plant Science Inc., Pacific Ag research, University of California/ School of Davis, Fresno University ( USA ) Miyazaki University, Kochi University ( Japan ).

This article is contributed by Mr. Ted Nishi, Chairman, LTI (Liquid Technology International)