Food sector’s first-ever trial of revolutionary water-purification technology goes live at Kent vertical farm
Pioneering vertical farm GrowUp Farms has embarked on the food sector’s first trial of a new technology at its farm in Kent. The trial has been funded by a grant awarded through the first round of our Business Sustainability Challenge.
The technology is designed to dramatically reduce the environmental footprint of water treatment. The Growing Kent & Medway funded trial between GrowUp Farms’ trial and Salinity Solutions aims to demonstrate how efficiently wastewater can be captured. The water will be purified to the highest food standards and reused at the farm in Kent, so GrowUp Farms can use even less water and reduce its impact on the planet even further. The trial will last around 10 days.
Salinity Solutions’ ground-breaking batch reverse osmosis technology – the first in the world to be manufactured commercially – could have a major impact on reducing wastewater. This could not only be used in the food sector but in many other sectors around the world, helping to solve the emerging global water crisis.
GrowUp Farms Impact Director Gillon Dobie said “Producing more food with less resources is central to our philosophy, no more so than when it comes to our water use. We’re already making great strides to conserve this precious resource at our vertical farm in Kent and we’re striving to get even better. We’re delighted to be working with Salinity Solutions on this trial, which we hope will make a big difference to improving our positive impact.”
Globally, demand for water is set to double over the next five years. Water treatment consumes 4% of the world’s total electricity production and conventional reverse osmosis* systems are traditionally energy intensive. Crucially, Salinity Solutions’ technology uses half the energy of existing systems while recovering up to 98% of clean water, while it is also compact and easily transportable.
Salinity Solutions’ co-founder Liam Burlace added: “We’re grateful to GrowUp Farms for allowing us to demonstrate our technology in the food sector and hope this trial marks the beginning of a long-term collaboration. Our shared goal is to reduce the consumption of energy and water so the results of this trial could have a significant impact on how the food industry manages its resources.”
Funding for the trial at GrowUp Farms’ site in Kent (one of the driest UK counties) has been secured through a £29,000 sustainability grant from Growing Kent and Medway’s ‘Business Sustainability Challenge’ grant.
Our Challenge invited businesses to submit project ideas to sustainably transform the horticultural and plant-based food and drink supply chain. GrowUp was one of seven businesses awarded a share of £262,000.
Dr Nikki Harrison, Programme Director for Growing Kent & Medway, said: “We are investing in real-world business innovation and research projects that demonstrate how science-led, sustainable innovation can be deployed throughout the supply chain. This not only benefits the environment by helping Kent businesses become more sustainable but also stimulates economic growth. Fresh thinking can help create new revenue streams and new markets from waste by-products and processes.
“While these projects demonstrate the exciting innovation happening in Kent and Medway, we expect the knowledge that is gained to help transform our food systems throughout the sector.”