Efforts to eliminate the global food waste problem continue to gain momentum, giving rise to two new technologies that aim to curb the issue at each step along the value chain.
Proper food storage plays a critical role in the prevention of food waste and a new technology from startup Rebound Technologies could provide an important tool in helping drive down the 1.3 billion tons of food that is lost or wasted each year. The company’s disruptive technology IcePoint™—the first major innovation in refrigeration in 100 years—has attracted investment from Closed Loop Ventures, an early stage equity fund that invests in consumer goods, advanced recycling technologies and services supporting the circular economy, as well as PRIME Coalition and Investors’ Circle.
Refrigeration management has been named as one most substantive solutions to combating climate change according to Project Drawdown, a climate change mitigation project initiated by environmentalist Paul Hawken. And a recent report by the Washington Post has also revealed that 20 – 30 percent of food loss is attributed to breaks in the cold chain during shipping—which Rebound’s technology aims to improve.
A facility utilizing two IcePoint™ units is projected to divert 4,400 tons of food waste, decrease greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 23,000 tons of CO2e and save 14 billion gallons of water annually. These savings are also expected to increase earnings by $275,000 per unit.
“Cold chain management improvements have the capacity to reduce U.S. food waste by 18,000 tons annually, generating millions of dollars of savings for consumers and businesses,” said Chris Cochran, Executive Director of ReFed.
“Our proprietary technology allows cold storage logistics companies and food processors to freeze more food in less time, using 40 percent less energy, compared to legacy equipment. This means less food waste and more revenue for farmers.
"IcePoint™ not only provides unprecedented efficiency gains, but it also provides the operational flexibility to enable bursts of high capacity, on-demand cooling. This unique characteristic can speed up blast freezing times or mitigate peak electricity expenses, depending on the user’s optimization preference. CLV’s investment in our company will both help us successfully deliver our first pilot this year and because CLV specializes in the circular economy, we think of it as smart capital that will help us make important connections to grow our business as well.” - Kevin Davis, CEO of Rebound Technologies.
Closed Loop Ventures has made six investments since its inception, including AMP Robotics (a robotics company solving for recycling inefficiency), HomeBiogas (a residential scale anaerobic digestion company solving for food waste) and Evrnu (a fiber technology company turning textile waste into new fibers).
“Rebound Technologies directly addresses a huge driver of waste in the food supply chain—inefficiencies in the freezing process between the farm and the retailer,” said Rob Kaplan, Managing Director for CLV. “Based on our work with retailers and consumer product companies, we believe there is a strong demand for this technology.”
Meanwhile, Greenbelt Resources Corporation, a provider of sustainable energy production systems, has been recommended by the Indonesian government’s Technical Committee on Verification of Environmentally Friendly Technology for “Eco Friendly Technology” registration for its patented waste-to-energy system process ECOsystemtechnology. The registration will allow the company to use the country’s Ecolabel Logo.
The registration will apply to all food waste applications including the technology’s use by fruit juicers, breweries, produce harvesters, food distributors, wheat and grain manufacturers and more.
According to author Asitaya Sen, food loss and waste equates to more than the entire GDP of Indonesia, with annual losses equaling $940 billion. The numbers are significant, yet only four percent of the total investments in global food and agriculture goes toward reducing food loss.
Technologies such as ECOsystem could, however, prove to be indispensable in the fight to eradicate food loss and waste. ECOsystem is designed to convert food waste into valuable products, such as high protein food sources, potable water and bioenergy.
“Our ECOsystem technology, as demonstrated with the pending registration, has already shown its ability to economically reduce food loss while adding additional revenue streams,” said Darren Eng, CEO of Greenbelt.
“Receiving this endorsement validates our technology and provides more opportunities for Greenbelt. A difficult registration to secure, once received it gives Indonesian companies confidence in emerging technologies — in essence, the government will have verified our technology works the way we say it does. As such, we anticipate greater market interest and increased sales. We look forward to growing our business relationships in Indonesia.”
Previously, Greenbelt signed a Moratorium of Understanding with PT Jababeka Infrastruktur to deploy Greenbelt’s ECOsystem technology in a project dubbed JababECO. The first U.S.-Indonesia municipal waste-to-bio-products project of its kind officially broke ground as part of the closing ceremonies for the Jababeka ECOweek in May.