Welcome to this episode of Hardware to Save a Planet. Today, Dylan is joined by Daniel White, Co-Founder and CEO of Clean Crop Technologies, a company on a mission to get more food onto people’s plates with fewer resources. 

Join the discussion as Daniel unpacks Clean Crop Technologies’ innovative plasma technology to improve crop yields and reduce food waste. We also discuss the challenges of contamination in the food supply chain and the importance of addressing climate change in agriculture. If you’re interested in learning about cutting-edge solutions to food waste and climate change in agriculture, this podcast is a must-listen.

About Daniel

Daniel is an Agtech Entrepreneur with 16+ years of experience across horticulture, nut, and grain value chains in the US, Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. As the first commercial plasma seed treatment company in the US, they combine food-grade gases and electricity to create preservative-free food. Their novel, highly customizable technology treats seeds and food surfaces in minutes, does not compromise food and seed quality, and leaves no residue behind.

The challenge

The World Resources Institute estimates that by 2050, we need to grow over 56% more food while using drastically fewer resources per crop. 30% of food is wasted, largely due to pathogens, toxins, pests and climatic stress. Our food systems are responsible for over a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. So, food is a big contributor to rising temperatures, and at the same time, rising heat is also one of the biggest threats to food production.

The solution

Clean Crop Technologies is addressing the challenge head-on. As the first commercial plasma seed treatment company in the US, they combine food-grade gases and electricity to create preservative-free food. This helps in increasing yields, reducing waste, and addressing climate by using fewer resources. A triple win!

Want to learn more?

Check out the key takeaways of this episode below. Better still, listen to the podcast!

Key highlights

  • 02:50 – 05:22 – The global impact of climate change: Daniel mentions the global impact of climate change is real and visible. Changing temperatures and rainfall patterns in countries like Kenya and Tanzania impact food security as farmers often don’t have access to electricity and irrigation facilities. While there are voices that say that rising temperatures make it possible to grow crops in colder regions where you couldn’t grow earlier, this is only half the story. At a macro level, the increased frequency of extreme conditions outweighs a lot of the potential benefits of warmer temperatures in the growing zones.
  • 15:40 – 17:45 – Over 30% of output is lost between the farm and the end consumer: The general estimate is that around 30% of all food is lost somewhere between the farm and the end consumer. That’s the macro food waste number. For some high-value crop categories, like vegetables and fruits, that 30% number is just in the farmer’s field, and the total supply chain loss on those can be upwards of 50/60%. The production loss in the fields is on account of different moulds that enter the field through the seeds. Hence, treating the seeds to cut the production losses lies at the heart of Clean Crop Technologies solution. 
  • 19:28 – 23:03 – The nuts and bolts of the solution: At a high level, the solution uses a cold plasma system; think of it as a reactor that generates a really intensive energy field. The seeds are exposed to a combination of electric energy and a cocktail of reactive gasses that all serve to ionize the seeds and break down the pathogens in the seed without affecting the germination of the seed.