Tech Bundle

Urban Farming

Capitalising On Spent Coffee Grounds (SCG)
Only 20% of actual coffee is extracted from beans to produce coffee in its beverage form, leaving the remaining 80% (six million tons annually) deemed as spent coffee grounds (SCG) to be disposed or used in landfills or as non-food product components to make fertilisers, furniture, deodorisers or skin care products. A technology was created to counteract SCG wastage and valorise it for human consumption. This particular invention comprises of methodologies to create two types of ingredients using leftover SCG - oil-grind and water-grind processed SCG. A simple, reproducible method of conching is employed to convert leftover SCG into smooth pastes, where specific conching parameters help refine the SCG to an acceptable particle size, eliminating grittiness in numerous valorised products similar to SCG. The product utilises common ingredients like oil and water to conche SCG with improved taste and textural properties. The shelf stability and nutritional composition (including caffeine) of the ingredients were also validated to ensure the food possessed good sensorial properties and are scale up ready. This technology increases SCG’s potential use as a versatile ingredient in different food applications. The technology provider is seeking off-takers from food manufacturers, food services industry, companies interested to valorise side streams to turn SCG into edible compounds.
DNA Test Kit for On-site Diagnostics of Tropical Crop Diseases
Fast crop disease management is important to ensure sustainable production. Many tropical crops suffer from infectious diseases that spread and kill plantations. Previously, new land had to be allocated to replant crops in disease-free areas. This is now more challenging because land conversion implies deforestation. Thus, one way to improve the metrics of both production and sustainability is by testing for infection before moving the non-infectious material (i.e. in nurseries). However, as PCR testing in tropical countries is more challenging due to logistics and other factors, testing on-site would be a preferred option. This technology is a unique, portable, self-administered DNA detection kit to be used directly on-site to test for the DNA of the pathogen (virus, fungus etc.). Developed in Switzerland, the technology has already shown one use case for cocoa testing in West Africa and is shipped in the country without a cold chain.
Amphibian Collagen: A Sustainable-Derived Biomaterial with Multi-functional Capabilities
Collagen is a structural protein prevalent in the connective tissues of all organisms, and is the building block of biomaterial that is essential in wound healing and tissue regeneration. Through a patented extraction method, a novel Type I Amphibian collagen has been valorised from discarded skins, an agrifood waste stream and processed into a medical grade collagen biomaterial. The extracted pristine native amphibian collagen possesses unique properties, combining attributes associated with aquatic and land-based collagen sources, giving the extracted collagen more versatility than conventional sources of collagen. The Type I Amphibian collagen possesses a higher biocompatibility and water solubility as compared to mammalian sources of collagen, with a better thermostability profile, than marine sources of collagen. The technology provider has demonstrated the medical application of this extracted collagen by developing a range of specialised wound dressings, specifically designed for the management of chronic wounds. These dressing will significantly improve clinical outcomes and increase the rate of chronic wound closure.  The technology provider is looking for partnerships or collaborations to transform this pristine collagen into medical products. Additionally, with a pristine collagen extract, hydrolysing them into smaller fragments (collagen peptides) that can be customised to the needs of the partnership or collaboration, for the medical/cosmeceutical/nutraceutical industry. 
Unique Tubular Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Technology for Agrivoltaic Farming
In a world where resources are diminishing and demands are rising, the value of land has significantly increased for clean energy and food production. Agrivoltaic farming represents a potential game-changing solution that can bring substantial benefits to both the energy and food sectors. The patented technology is a tubular solar photovoltaic (PV) module designed for agrivoltaic farming. The unique tubular nature of the system allows sunlight, water, and wind to reach the plants below while simultaneously harnessing solar power. Moreover, the tubular modules can provide consistent partial shading to protect the plants and reduce ambient temperature and ground moisture loss. This technology enables the dual use of land by integrating agricultural activities such as farming and gardening with solar power generation, maximising the value derived from the limited land. The combination of energy harvesting and agriculture has significant potential to improve farming productivity, increase land-use efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and promote environmental sustainability. The technology owner is keen to collaborate with partners interested in agrivoltaic farming like farmers, gardeners, agritech companies, research centres, and ministries to test-bed and adopt their tubular solar PV technology. The technology owner is also seeking industrial partners (e.g., manufacturers, system integrators, architects, designers, etc) to co-develop a complete solar energy solution or integrate the tubular solar PV modules into specific use cases.
Automated Environmental Control for Indoor Farming
Indoor farming presents a range of different challenges to crop yields compared to outdoor farming activities. Traditional outdoor farmers intuitively know what environmental factors affect the growth of the crop. Indoor farming, on the other hand, requires the farmer to simulate the optimal climate conditions for expected crop yields. The indoor climate can either contribute to the yields or, in unfortunate circumstances, lead to the loss of the crop. However, it is not always easy to create an ideal environment for the crop.  This technology offer is a control system that allows the facility manager to align optimal crop conditions with the equipment settings in their facility, minimising the drift between settings and site-level crop conditions. The control system can also be used to compute the correlation between data across crop production, environment, and business performance. The control system can be customised further by adding other sensors for better accuracy of control.  The technology owner is keen to do R&D collaboration and licensing with innovative industrial automation companies specialising in product development of sensor networks and high-data throughput IoT gateways.   
Optimised Nutrient Formulation for Improving Crop Yield
Different plant species have different nutrient requirements. The current practice of urban farming uses a generic hydroponic nutrient solution that is suitable to most plant types, and a crude sensing system that only measures total ion content in the solution. This approach often results in nutrients deficiency and/or overloading and hence requires consistently monitoring. Overloading of nutrients not only increases the input costs, it also results in greater quantities of contamination in effluent to be disposed after harvest.  A targeted hydroponic nutrient solution reduces the need to periodically adjust the nutrient. The technology provider has studied and formulated different nutrient recipes that had shown improved yield compared to commercial products. This ensures the best growth for each crop type. It also reduces common problem stemming from imbalanced nutrient, e.g. leaf chlorosis due to nutrient deficiency. All these translate to a better yield and a more marketable produce for the farmers. Formulations developed include Mizuna, Kale, Lettuce, Mustard, Kalian, and Caixin. The technology provider is seeking for licensing partners from the agriculture industry.
Extension of Crop Harvest Period Through Customised LED Light Recipes
The majority of the local indoor farmers grow crops that are harvested for their leaves. One way to increase the growth rate of such leafy greens is to provide a longer period of light. However, some of the crops grown, e.g., spinach, are long-day plants that flower when the light periods are longer than their critical day-length. While important to a plant’s life cycle, this vegetative to reproductive phase change is undesirable for farmers, not only because it shortens the harvest period hence reducing the yield, but also because it changes the taste profile. To tackle this problem, a light recipe that was able to suppress flowering was formulated. Plants grown under this light recipe showed a faster growth rate than those grown under flowering-suppressing short-day photoperiod. Moreover, they do not flower even when the light period has surpassed the critical day-length. Positive results were obtained when this light recipe was tested on spinach and arugula. This technology would work for other long-day crops, and it will be beneficial to indoor farmers who are interested to try it.
A Decentralized Urban Farming IoT System
This Internet of Things (IoT) software architecture addresses a decentralized framework to provide the ability to exchange data between IoT devices autonomously without any centralized server. In recent years, the development of IoT applications has become increasingly complex. Thus, this technology addresses the problem by providing the ability to simplify the streaming of data to the IoT platforms over the web. The IoT platform is designed to assist modern-day farmers in monitoring the entire farm seamlessly. It can be customized to suit each farm depending on the type of sensors, machine vision camera, cloud storage, etc. Equipped with detailed data tracking and analytics to provide the most accurate growth process from start to finish. This design can be customized for other applications. The technology owner is looking for partners and collaborators to further co-develop this technology in urban farming.