Blog post | 03-17-2021 | Consulate General in Vancouver
Agriculture is the largest sector in Canada with a strong focus on horticulture. To get a feel for Dutch agricultural innovations in British Columbia, the Dutch Consulate General in Vancouver and the Dutch Embassy’s agricultural team spoke with several entrepreneurs.
In this 10-part blog series, we will be highlighting a leading innovative agtech company in British Columbia each week, with an emphasis on its close connection to the Netherlands.
Part 4 (4/10): Lucent BioSciences
In recent years, food security and nutrient density have declined at a rapid rate due to degradation of (upper) soils. Pollution, excessive flooding and other environmental and agricultural problems are at the heart of this global problem. Malnutrition causes death and health problems around the world. It’s a harsh reality, but the good news is that there are people out there who are devoting all of their time and effort to inventing technologies that can help solve this problem on a large scale.
Cellulose for an intelligent fertilizer
Michiel Riedijk is a Vancouver-based serial cleantech entrepreneur, investor in climate change mitigation initiatives and CEO of Lucent BioSciences. In 2017, he was introduced to a theory involving cellulose (the main substance in plant walls) as the main ingredient in a smart fertilizer to improve crop yields and regenerate topsoil. “I got very intrigued and got on board. We started with extensive research laboratory testing. “
Promising test results
“When our tests proved that this smart fertilizer technology, which we called Soileos, worked very well, we raised funds and started pilot programs to increase production. Our pilot plant in British Columbia can currently produce 1,000 kilograms per day and we are operating at a production speed of 100 tonnes per day.
In early 2020, Lucent Biosciences received funding to conduct a series of field trials to use Soileos smart fertilizer on different crops in different regions of Canada. The results of these test fields are very promising. The yields of lettuce crops have increased by 40% and have a higher nutritional value. Other crops are also reporting double-digit increases; not only in size, but also in taste and aroma.
“These are exciting and promising results,” says Riedijk. “We are preparing for our next steps, which is a consumer product for home use and to determine our large-scale business opportunities on a global scale. Right now, we are considering licensing our technology to giants in the food waste industry who have the ability to build a factory and sell our smart fertilizers locally for a royalty. “
Link with the Netherlands
- Dutch heritage
Michiel Riedijk immigrated with his family from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to Vancouver in 2009. He founded Lucent BioSciences as a co-founder in 2014.
- Dutch partnerships
Lucent BioSciences now plans to conduct field trials in 2021 in the Netherlands in collaboration with Dutch farms and Wageningen University & Research.
Want to know more about the collaboration between the Dutch and Canadians in British Columbia?
In the brochure, which you can download below, you will find a number of examples of innovative companies in British Columbia, with close ties to the Netherlands. We hope to see many more of these strong collaborations and are keen to support more innovators.
If you would like to know more, please contact the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vancouver at [email protected] or contact the Economic Affairs teams in Ottawa and Toronto.