Jetters Incz. is a local company specialising in facility and drainage services. You may have seen our people doing cleaning, maintenance or landscaping operations at industrial buildings, hotels and retail malls.

Thanks to TechInnovation 2021, IPI’s flagship technology brokerage event, we were introduced to emerging trends and new opportunities in food waste valorisation. I thought this synergised well with our current services for F&B clients, and we could do more to create a greener environment. Thus, I became curious about food waste valorisation technologies, particularly how food waste could be upcycled into usable and higher-value by-products. My vision is to eventually develop decentralised food waste digestors for our clients from the hotels, restaurants and catering (HoReCa) sector.

Upon learning my interest, the IPI Innovation & Technology team comprising Mr Ethan Siew and Ms Paula Sng pointed me to their white paper on unlocking value from food waste. They also scanned the innovation and technology ecosystem for potential partners with the relevant expertise in food waste management. Professor Liu Yu, an environmental engineering professor from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU)’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, came highly recommended as a result of the search, given his extensive research experience and special technology for the ultrafast conversion of food waste into biofertilizers.

I liked that Prof Liu’s process flow was simple and modularised, requiring no more than eight hours to breakdown the food waste (a quarter of the time required by conventional digestors). Furthermore, each treatment cycle could be completed with close to zero solid discharge.

Ethan and Paula, together with Derek Yip from the Innovation Advisors Programme team, facilitated multiple discussions between Prof Liu and ourselves, leading to several agreements being signed with NTU. These have allowed us to tap into Prof Liu’s technology, pilot our project using an existing centralised food waste digestor, as well as partner with Prof Liu to commercialise his technology for our clients.

We were very excited to embark these crucial first steps towards our long-term vision for a decentralisation solution, which would ultimately lower logistics costs. Our plan would be to close the waste loop by recycling the biofertilizers as compost in parks and green spaces around Singapore.

At first, I thought it would be very complicated for an SME like us to negotiate licencing deals with a big university. But the experience was surprisingly seamless and easy, thanks to IPI who was there every step of the way until the agreements were signed. We were especially impressed with our Innovation Advisor, Mr Harish Methil, who had vast experience and a proven track record in Circular Economy and Sustainability strategies. It helped that we could benefit from IPI’s full suite of services, covering both technology and business innovation. This would guide and refine our strategic business objectives, enabling Jetters Holdings to maintain our market leadership in waste management in Singapore.

More importantly, this licensing deal would allow us to expand our business solutions, and to contribute to the Singapore Green Plan to reduce landfill waste by 30% by 2030. With a robust decentralised food waste system in place, we would also be able to diversify our revenue streams and generate more green jobs for the economy