Solution Overview

Solution Name:

Waste to taste

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One-line solution summary:

Producing emissions-free, sustainable agricultural phosphorus from waste through our world-first technology

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Pitch your solution.

By developing new technology to enable the production of a high-value, phosphorus-rich product from steel-making slag and coffee waste, this project aims to deliver significant environmental and economic benefits to agricultural sector. Recovering phosphorous from these two waste streams will reduce our dependence on a finite but essential resource that is subject to global price variations and geopolitical instability. It will also help different countries to establish food security for domestic and export markets with a sustainable source of phosphorus that preserves dwindling natural deposits and allows the enrichment of depleted agricultural soils. Our ultimate goal is to completely replace the mining-based phosphorus fertiliser in the agricultural industry with phosphorus recovery from waste. This goal will minimise both our reliance on non-renewable phosphorus resources and enhance the recycling of waste. This is expected to significantly reduce costs associated with phosphorus-based fertiliser on the agricultural industry, job creation and food security.

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What specific problem are you solving?

Agricultural systems around the globe require continual inputs of phosphorus in the form of fertilisers. There is no substitute for phosphorus in agriculture – without it, farmers could not produce sufficient food to meet global demand. Mining and use of finite phosphate rock reserves over the past half-century has not only led to widespread nutrient pollution of many of the world’s rivers and oceans but has created a fundamental human dependence on a single non-renewable resource. The short- and long-term security of phosphorus supplies are uncertain and remaining phosphate resources are becoming increasing scarce, expensive, and inequitably distributed. Morocco alone controls 72% of the world’s remaining phosphate reserves. The 800% global price spike of phosphate in 2008 exposed the fragility of the world’s phosphorus and food systems to even temporary perturbations and attracted unprecedented attention to this global situation. 

Nearly 100% of the phosphorus used in intensive agriculture is mined from a finite resource in the form of rock phosphate deposits. It is estimated that global phosphorus reserves may only last for 50 to 100 years. It is necessary to define a technology which allows the recovery of phosphorus from wastes to increase sustainability and security of this essential resources.

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What is your solution?

In this project our aim is to deliver significant environmental and economic benefits to agricultural sector through our world-first technology which enable the production of a high-value, phosphorus-rich product from steel-making slag and coffee waste. We will, for the first time, use single-step low-temperature transformation of steel-making slag and coffee waste as the basis for the separation of phosphorus which can be done locally at small scale. 

Till now the only process of producing phosphorus for agriculture industry was through mining phosphors from earth but our solution will disrupt the whole industry of phosphorus production and agriculture industry as we are using waste as input for producing highly valuable phosphorus resources for agricultural industry.

Our ultimate goal is to completely replace the mining-based phosphorus fertiliser in the agricultural industry with phosphorus recovery from waste. This goal will minimise both our reliance on non-renewable phosphorus resources and enhance the recycling of waste. This is expected to significantly reduce costs associated with phosphorus-based fertiliser on the agricultural industry. Developing recycling technology which extracts phosphorus from waste will be of potential significance for industrial processes. This approach could contribute significantly to the sustainability of food production and increasing the agricultural productivity internationally.

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Our approach is to enable local farmers to produce their required phosphorus from local waste. This will increase the yield in local farmers as well as big agricultural industry which will increase the food production and reduce the world hunger. At the same time as this process will reduce the cost for farming while reduce the local waste it will improve the living quality as well as the environment that people living in by reducing their waste. Also, by recovering valuable materials from waste we will reduce the demand for traditional mining of phosphorus from rock and saving our planet.

Phosphorus-rich fertiliser is vital for global food security and food production. But because of the high price associated with phosphorus fertiliser there is a limited use in most of localised farming industry. The findings of this project have great potential to deliver significant progress towards the sustainable production of phosphorus from waste for agricultural use. Currently, around 80% of mined phosphorus is lost or wasted in the food and other value chains (including food waste and steel-making slag). Developed solution will assist in optimising industry practices used throughout the world. Making phosphorus fertiliser accessible to farmers increase agricultural productivity enormously.

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Support small-scale producers with access to inputs, capital, and knowledge to improve yields while sustaining productivity of land and seas
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Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge and your selected dimension.

Our approach is to enable local farmers to produce their required phosphorus from local waste. This will increase the yield in local farmers as well as big agricultural industry which will increase the food production and reduce the world hunger. At the same time as this process will reduce the cost for farming while reduce the local waste it will improve the living quality as well as the environment that people living in by reducing their waste. Also, by recovering valuable materials from waste we will reduce the demand for traditional mining of phosphorus from rock and saving our planet.

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Sydney NSW, Australia
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community
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Who is the primary delegate for your solution?

Dr. Farshid, our CEO, will manage this project

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More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new technology
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Describe what makes your solution innovative.

We have developed an innovative and sustainable single-step process to transform wastes such steel-making slag into a high-value and sustainable source of phosphorus – an essential, valuable and non-renewable agricultural fertiliser that is especially important in countries with depleted soils that are naturally low in phosphorus. This process would enable us to add considerable value to the huge volumes of steel-making slag, which is the by-product of steel production, and at the same time reduce demand for virgin phosphorus mined from finite rock resources. Using an innovative approach, we developed a novel sustainable source of phosphorus for the agricultural industry.

Currently there are some solutions which transform the green waste and food waste into the compost which can be used in agricultural industry but because of the need for concentrated phosphorus in today’s agriculture industry due to our depleted soils they will continue using mined phosphorus in addition to these composts. On the other hand, there is no solution for using the huge amount of phosphorus locked in the steel making slag at this stage. We are combining this industrial waste with domestic waste of coffee from local coffee shops, because of its high concentration of phosphorus and creating a new technology which can produce phosphorus source from waste. This phosphorus can be used in producing agricultural fertiliser or even can be used in pharmaceutical industry.  

This process would enable us to add considerable value to the huge volumes of steel-making slag, which is the by-product of steel production.

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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

In our innovative approach we have single-step process which is using low-temperature reaction to be recovering phosphorus from these waste without generating any emission or other by-product. Our technology is combination of three stage of reforming, refining and recovery. At the first stage the steel making slag and waste coffee will be mixed at certain ration with specific particle size, then by using solar power we can increase the temperature of this stage to about 900 degree centigrade. At this stage phosphorus from coffee and steel making slag with react with the renewable bio-carbon in the coffee waste and produce a gas which will move to the second stage which is just coffee waste. By passing the phosphorus rich gas through coffee waste we will refine the gas further and make it pure. At this stage the gas will pass through a small water tang and the phosphorus will be condensed into the yellow-phosphorus and will stay in the waster and the output gas which is contain hydrogen and carbon-based gasses can be used again as the carrier gas for transforming phosphorous from wastes. The key innovation lies in novel recycling of these two waste streams, which are a mixture of complex industrial waste and bio-waste and therefore very difficult to manage. Presently only a fraction of these materials is used for low-grade applications and recovery of valuable elements, and essential elements for the agricultural industry including phosphorus, potassium and calcium are wasted.

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Provide evidence that this technology works.

As part of our collaboration with Clean Cowra we have turn their bio-refinery residue into phosphorus source for local agriculture. In this process waste from local agriculture has been turned to energy through bio-refinery and then we turn its residue to source of phosphorus for local use.

Also, we have worked with Nippon steel in Japan to separate the phosphorus from steel-making and use it in rice field. This material has been demonstrated in the recovery of rice field after Tsunami which enable growing the rice just six months after the tsunami which normally needs 3 years of natural recovery.

This project will assess the socio-economic viability of recovering phosphorus from waste using this new technology for commercial use as a renewable fertiliser. Taking a systems approach, the project will first combine material flows analysis and a dynamic supply-demand analysis to assess the quantity and quality of stocks and flows of phosphorus from waste and other potential sources, relative to potential demand. The project will identify and define potential end-use markets, such as fertiliser and high-value industrial or pharmaceutical uses. Potential costs and benefits of creating such a value chain will be explored, including: the economic feasibility of the recovery process, the market value of different recovered phosphorus products, and, potential sustainability co-benefits of the value chain, such as securing domestic supply stream of phosphorus to buffer against increasingly risky import markets, reducing waste generation in the steel industry, reducing the mining of non-renewable phosphate rock.

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Manufacturing Technology
  • Materials Science
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What is your theory of change?

Our CEO was living in Japan when 2011 earthquake and tsunami was happened and it was devastating to see all the damage to the cities, homes and so many deaths. In addition to all the obvious damage there was another longer-term damage to the rice fields and agricultural fields because of the ocean’s water. At that time our CEO was working on a project with Nippon steel to recover the phosphorus from steel making slag. They find that they can recover all the rice-fields with just 6 months treatment using steel making slag and the valuable elements in this waste.

After this project our CEO had the goal to help farmers and agriculture industry in all the countries especially in low- and mid-income countries to use local waste and increase their production. In this way we can help to produce more food and at the same time increase the income for these farmers.

Our long-term vision is to transfer this knowledge of producing natural and chemical free agricultural fertiliser from local waste to every farmer in the world. We want to bringing back the high value and phosphorus from waste into the economy and creating the actual circular economy instead of losing these great materials and again mining new phosphorus. Losing phosphors from waste into the nature from wastes will damage the ecosystem balance in the nature.

Also, our mission is to enable movement towards the world hunger by increasing the world food production by using fertiliser from local waste. Because of the excess’s food production most of the agricultural fields are suffering from natural depletion of phosphorus and using mined phosphorus as the source of fertiliser will deplete soils more because it does not add natural materials into the soils. But our solution will solve this issue as well.

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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Rural
  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 2. Zero Hunger
  • 3. Good Health and Well-Being
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Australia
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Australia
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

As part of our collaboration with Clean Cowra we have turn their bio-refinery residue into phosphorus source for local agriculture. In this process waste from local agriculture has been turned to energy through bio-refinery and then we turn its residue to source of phosphorus for local use.

Also, we have worked with Nippon steel in Japan to separate the phosphorus from steel-making and use it in rice field. This material has been demonstrated in the recovery of rice field after Tsunami which enable growing the rice just six months after the tsunami which normally needs 3 years of natural recovery. As part of these project we served more than 500 people in local areas. We are aiming to double this in next one year and in next five years we are aiming to have these facilities in different countries to produce phosphorus from waste and serving more than 200,000 people.

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What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

Our ultimate goal is to completely replace the mining-based phosphorus fertiliser in the agricultural industry with phosphorus recovery from waste. This goal will minimise both our reliance on non-renewable phosphorus resources and enhance the recycling of waste. This is expected to significantly reduce costs associated with phosphorus-based fertiliser on the agricultural industry. Developing recycling technology which extracts phosphorus from waste will be of potential significance for industrial processes. This approach could contribute significantly to the sustainability of food production and increasing the agricultural productivity internationally.

For achieving this ultimate goal, we have set up a one-year goal for us to deploy small scale facility which can transform local waste into phosphorus rich products for agricultural use. This small-scale facility can be used in local communities and transform local waste into useful products which an be used in local farms. Our five-year goal is to have these facilities running in different countries in different continent and enable the fast transitioning of agricultural industry from mined phosphorus to the locally produced phosphorus from waste. 

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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?

Our main barrier for achieving our one-year goal is the financial barrier. As our aim is to maintain this solution as open-source solution which can be used by anybody in local area we cannot go through traditional fund-raising model and hence it limits us for achieving our one-year goal. Also, another barrier which is more important for our five-year goal is the networking and working with different organisation that enable the deploying this know-how to different part of the world and start to enabling farmers and agriculture industry in different part of the world. We need to know and learn from some companies that done the supply-chain and distributed a new and innovative technology which disrupt traditional marketplace.

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How do you plan to overcome these barriers?

Our plan is to work with different organisation such as non-for-profit organisation. We have worked with several non-for-profit organisation and also worked with local communities to implement our solutions which enable them to use waste to produce high quality products. For example, we have worked with local communities in Cowra in NSW Australia and creating the fertiliser from the local waste. This solution reduces their dependency on fertiliser which came from mining source and enhance their production capacity but at the same time reduce their production cost.

This partnership will enable us to scale our solution without limiting the users and mass adoption of this innovative and transformative solution.

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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models
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How many people work on your solution team?

Currently we have 5 full-time staff that are working on our team

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How many years have you worked on your solution?

3 years

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Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

We are dedicated to changing the way manufacturing industry works around the world. We are creating future ready sustainable solutions that will disrupt traditional industry and is using waste as resources. With over a decade of proven results, we have worked with leading companies around the world to develop bespoke solutions that were implemented in their manufacturing and processing, resulting in increased profitability. The difference between waste and resource is a creative solution. And a creative solution can come only from a creative mind. 

Our management team consist of several high profile research scientist who are among most creative minds in the field of materials science and engineering. They have demonstrated their capability in exceptionally successful projects in the past. They are award winning with great vision and internationally publishing authors.

Our innovative team provides effective solutions which enable manufacturing to use waste as renewable resources in their process. As a result, these industries will save cost and increase profit.

By leveraging our recently developed approach, we can transform the huge volumes of currently worthless residue produced by steel-making and coffee retailers, into a new commercial and environmental opportunity.

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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

We have worked with several non-for-profit organisation and also worked with local communities to implement our solutions which enable them to use waste to produce high quality products. For example, we have worked with local communities in Cowra in NSW Australia and creating the fertiliser from the local waste. This solution reduces their dependency on fertiliser which came from mining source and enhance their production capacity but at the same time reduce their production cost.

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Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

As our ultimate goal is to enable local farmers to produce their own phosphorus from local waste, we have put this solution for everyone to use. Also, our aim is to help local farmers to identify the best local waste and show them how to turn that into sustainable source of phosphorus. Our business model is based on using socio-economic approach and providing the knowledge-based solution that can be implemented locally, transforming waste, creating jobs, and reducing the cost of agricultural industry.

In this model we will enable the change and the change will sustain itself as it will create revenue by reducing the cost of fertilisers and at the same time by increasing the production yield of agriculture industry. Also, because we are using waste as input materials it has a pulling effect from local councils and communities because it will reduce the cost of waste management and providing the sustainable approach of green manufacturing.

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Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)
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Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

Why are you applying to Solve?

We are applying for solve for two main reasons, fundraising and overcoming the financial barrier and also for collaborating with different organisation to enable deploying of our solution to different part of the world.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Funding and revenue model
  • Legal or regulatory matters
  • Marketing, media, and exposure
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Please explain in more detail here.

Our partnership goal is to produce final product of small-scale refining process of deploying it to different communities around the world and enable the production of phosphorus from waste in local area.

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

We would like to partner with organisations that be able to help us with funding, marketing and also legal based on the share profit approach.

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Solution Team

 
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