NPHarvest raises US$2.3mn to take nutrient catcher machine to market

NPHarvest’s hardware can catch up to 90% of the excess but valuable nutrients from wastewater. (Image source: NPHarvest)

Finnish startup, NPHarvest has raised US$2.2mn to take its proprietary nutrient catcher machine to the market

While nutrient fertilisers are essential for securing food production, excessive amounts of fertilisers—particularly nitrogen and phosphorus—which end up in the environment through wastewater or nutrient leaching from agricultural areas, pollute the ground and cause eutrophication in seas and lakes. This in turn causes an overgrowth of algae and weeds, especially toxic blue-green algae, which depletes oxygen and is a threat to animal life. Overaccumulation of nutrients might also result in nutrient deficiencies in plants. 

NPHarvest's nutrient catcher which is installed in wastewater management systems, enables the separation and collection of excess nutrients from concentrated wastewaters. These can then be recycled and sold back to the fertiliser industry, thus making businesses more profitable, mitigating eutrophication and enhancing local food security. The hardware can catch up to 90% of the excess but valuable nutrients from wastewater. Once the technology has separated the nutrients, they can be taken back to the fertiliser companies. NPHarvest’s process also uses very little energy, as it does not require heating or pressure increase, thereby reducing the costs of the process even further.

The new funding will allow NPHarvest to build the first commercially ready nutrient catcher, ready to be installed in their clients’ facilities. Moreover, by keeping the production costs as low as possible, the nutrient catcher can scale to different use cases and fit different facilities, thanks to the process' modular design. 

“No one has done nutrient catching on a real commercial level, which made us as foodtech investors impressed with NPHarvest and its unique technology," said Mika Kukkurainen, partner at Nordic Foodtech VC. "Ensuring food security while protecting the environment is one of the top priorities in the food system. NPHarvest´s technology has what it takes to combine these aspects in a very interesting business model.”  

Development engineer of Swedish NSVA, Northwest Skåne Water and Wastewater, Hamse Kjerstadius also stated that NPHarvest’s technology for nitrogen and phosphorus recovery had the potential to allow increased nutrient recovery from wastewater. This was seen as a promising method that could aid municipalities in reaching reduced climate impacts.

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