A small UK-based agtech company is working hard to tackle air pollution and increase crop yields simultaneously thanks to plant chemistry.
Crop Intellect said its technology, R-Leaf®, captures air pollution and turns it into nitrate.
“We try and make plants work harder with using less resources,” said founder Dr. Apostolos Papadopoulos.
“Agriculture has been a major contributor to pollution in general to water and air … it’s just about making it more sustainable and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Papadopoulous described this as a disruptive technology that captures atmospheric NOx pollutants and converts them to plant feed—creating a higher yield.
“We are allowing farmers to manage the nitrogen requirements better, so they can reduce the amount of nitrogen they use and replace that with our technology – R-Leaf®,” he said.
The technology is prepared into a suspension concentrate solution and is sprayed on living plant surfaces. From there the NOx pollution is broken down to nitrate, which is absorbed by the plants as feed.
Looking to the future, Papadopoulous said he could envision having a manufacturing facility located in Saskatchewan to help access the North American market and reduce the costs of shipping overseas.
“[Being in the GRA] our company can have various benefits from a taxation point of view [and] a distribution point of view; there’s a great centre as a market, but as well as accessing North America which includes the U.S.,” he said.
Crop Intellect is one of 16 companies taking part in the Agtech Accelerator. They travelled to Regina in March and will return in June for a demo day during Canada’s Farm Show.
“As a small company we are trying to do something innovative, something very risky and this is what drives us to look at the big issues in agriculture.”