In a continuation of our preview of the REAP Technology Exhibition (click here: To spray or not?), other demonstrations will include:-
‘Green Pallets’ – Cambond
Cambridge start-up Cambond has produced the world’s first moulded straw pallet. Pallet manufacture uses more than 100 million tonnes of wood a year.
“More than 4 billion wooden pallets are in use across the world, resulting in a considerable drain on forest resources,” says Gareth Roberts, Cambond co-founder. “There are significant carbon costs and recycling issues arising from the short working life of pallets.”
As a result, Cambond has created ‘green pallets’ by injecting of resin, water and chopped straw into a mould. The manufacturing process is compatible with existing processes and machinery, and as a sustainable and ecological substitute it could remove over 60 million tonnes of CO₂ per billion pallets.
At the REAP conference on 9 November, Cambond will showcase the pressed straw pallets, strawboards, pots made from straw and wood panels made with innovative biomass based green glue. The exhibition is a new feature of the conference, highlighting cutting-edge technology from national and international businesses.
Gareth says: “We have developed a new technology to utilise agri-tech by-products such as straw, beet fibre and residues from bio-ethanol production.
“Using biomass based green resin and agricultural waste fibre can create a large number of products which will be cost effective to manufacture and easier to re-cycle. It presents a significant opportunity for de-carbonising many supply chains and provide a sustainable manufacturing process which will compete with standard products on cost.
“Cambond’s green glue and green pallets offer a sustainable, low carbon future and would strengthen the UK’s leadership in cleantech.”
Cambond has set up their first joint venture in China to commercialise the green glue technology and engineered woods, and are now looking to build manufacturing capacity in the UK and expand into Europe.
‘Smart Greenhouse’ – Bee Leaf
The Smart Greenhouse market is expected to increase to more than $1.2 billion by 2020, according to a recent report. Tom Naylor, CEO of Bee Leaf, is capitalising on this rising trend, with the construction of a high tech renewable greenhouse in Shepreth, Cambridgeshire.
On 9 November, Bee Leaf will be showcasing their plans at the highly anticipated technology exhibition, during Agri-Tech East’s REAP Conference. Tom believes that his company can produce cost effective and higher quality produce in comparison to traditionally field grown crops.
He says: “To maximise yield, quality and reliability, the greenhouse will use LED lights, a mobile gutter system and air handling units which will enable Co2 to be maintained at double the normal level leading to 25% extra yield. Capitalising on periodic market shortages, we will grow middle-tier crops, such as watercress and coloured variety lettuces against season.”
Bee Leaf will maintain a semi tropical climate by using renewable energy, cultivating crops that would not normally be economically grown in the UK. A mixture of LED and natural lighting will be deployed, with a reliance on the artificial light during dark winter months.
“Blue and red LED lights will be deployed, as those spectrums induce vegetative growth,” explains Tom. “Modifying the wavelengths throughout the day, we can produce plants with high quality and a superior taste. The lights will also be inexpensive to run, as we have on-site electricity generation.”
“The greenhouse’s biogas plant will be loaded with feedstock each week for a 28 day anaerobic digestion cycle – this will be showered with microorganisms for fermentation and gas production. We also have a wood chip biomass boiler to provide supplemental heat when required.”
As the project uses renewable energy, it is likely to appeal to customers seeking quality and eco-friendly products. In addition, Bee Leaf will produce ready to eat items, avoiding industrial chlorine washes which reduce taste and shelf life. Washing and packing will take place on site and a clean greenhouse environment will be maintained.
“We have a great location within reach of wholesalers, manufacturers and distributors in London, and we can also supply most of the country. I am positive that our cost effective, locally grown produce will be competitive, and I look forward to sharing the greenhouse’s innovative design at REAP.”