Dr Andrew Kralicek – Plant & Food Research
Insect Receptor Sensors: Harnessing insects’ amazing powers of smell to revolutionize commercial sensing
Dr Andrew Kralicek, Team Leader of the Molecular Sensing Team at Plant & Food Research, has spent the last decade working out how to harness insects’ amazing sense of smell to revolutionise the world of electronic sensors. His technological breakthrough led to the development of a proof of principle prototype showing that insect odorant receptors can be used for the detection of miniscule amounts of volatile compounds. Possible commercial applications range from human health, pest and disease detection, food quality and defence technologies.
Over the past three years, Dr Kralicek’s passion has been the commercialisation of his innovative new technology as a platform technology. These efforts, backed by PreSeed accelerator investment, have seen Dr Kralicek engage with potential customers, collaborators, funders and advisers to better understand the commercial opportunities that could be captured by this novel device. Andrew was the first researcher selected for the KiwiNet Emerging Innovator Programme in 2015 for his 'biological electronic nose' sensor technology.
Dr Deborah Crittenden, University of Canterbury
Infinitely rechargeable batteries; real-time nitrate sensors.
Dr Deborah Crittenden from the University of Canterbury is developing exciting new technologies delivering environmental sustainability, including infinitely rechargeable batteries and real-time nitrate sensors. A senior lecturer at the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, she brings a diverse skill set and pragmatic approach to developing novel scientific and technological solutions for important real-world problems that also have the potential to deliver excellent economic outcomes for New Zealand. She is currently working on designing new energy storage liquids for use in redox flow batteries, a novel nitrate sensor system based upon laser-induced photochemistry coupled to simple, low-cost detection methods, and developing a new platform technology for predicting how drug molecules bind to their targets on a very large scale.
In 2017, a spin-out company, Flow Holdings, was established based upon Dr Crittenden's molecular design work to develop a prototype redox flow battery. Discussions are ongoing around partnering with industry to further advance and commercialize Dr Crittenden's nitrate sensor design, which has already attracted pre-incubation funding. Additionally, Dr Crittenden is in early discussions with a tech incubator around commercializing her computational drug design tool.
Dr Vlatko Materic – Hot Lime Labs
‘Hot Lime’ to help feed the world - increasing greenhouse crop yields with sustainable CO2
Dr Vlatko Materić, Founder and CEO of Hot Lime Labs, has developed technology to sustainably boost glasshouse yields while reducing their carbon footprint.
Dr Materić started development of his 'Hot Lime' technology while in his previous role, as a researcher at Callaghan Innovation. He had long envisioned a technology to produce clean CO2 from the combustion of waste which could change the world by significantly boosting glasshouse vegetable and flower yields while reducing their carbon footprint.
The Hot Lime Labs technology can recover clean CO2 from the burning of waste organic material and then allow this clean and concentrated CO2 to be released into the greenhouse to improve crop yields by around 20%. This enables greenhouse growers to operate at optimal yields, and increase food production while simultaneously cutting environmental harm by using a renewable source of clean CO2.
The technology has the potential to increase grower's revenues by $40-80k per annum per hectare compared to using other sources such as natural gas or liquid CO2. The global market opportunity for the technology is estimated at over $800m per annum and is growing rapidly. In the space of just two short years he is now realising his dream, having foundered a start-up company as a commercialisation vehicle for his discoveries. Hot Lime Labs has already attracted significant private investment and is set to take on the world with eager early adopters lined up for commercial trials.