GrowUp Farms, owner of the Kent based pioneering vertical farm Pepperness, will shortly start the food sector’s first trial of a new, disruptive technology which dramatically reduces the environmental footprint of water treatment.
Salinity Solutions’ ground-breaking batch reverse osmosis technology – the first in the world to be manufactured commercially – could have a major impact on reducing wastewater, not only in the food sector but in many other sectors around the world, helping to solve the emerging global water crisis.
GrowUp Farms, which launched its Unbeleafable salad range in Tesco stores this summer, is already a keen advocate of sustainability. Pepperness benefits from state-of-the-art technology to create perfect growing conditions inside to grow food, which is better for the environment as it not only uses less water, but the salad also lasts longer, resulting in less waste.
The trial with Salinity Solutions aims to demonstrate how efficiently wastewater can be captured, purified to the highest food standards and reused at Pepperness, so GrowUp can use even less water and reduce its impact on the planet even further.
GrowUp Farms Impact Director Gillon Dobie said “Producing more food with less resources is central to our philosophy, no more so than when it comes to our water use. We’re already making great strides to conserve this precious resource at Pepperness but we’re striving to get even better. We’re delighted to be working with Salinity Solutions on this trial, which we hope will make a big difference to improving our positive impact.”
Globally, demand for water is set to double over the next five years. Water treatment consumes 4% of the world’s total electricity production and conventional reverse osmosis* systems are traditionally energy intensive. Crucially, Salinity Solutions’ technology uses half the energy of existing systems while recovering up to 98% of clean water, while it is also compact and easily transportable.
Salinity Solutions’ co-founder Liam Burlace added: “We’re very grateful to GrowUp Farms for allowing us to demonstrate our technology in the food sector and hope this trial marks the beginning of a long-term collaboration with them. Our shared goal is to reduce the consumption of energy and water so the results of this trial could have a significant impact on how the food industry manages its resources.”
Funding for the trial at Pepperness in Kent (coincidentally one of the driest UK counties) has been secured through a £29,000 sustainability grant from Growing Kent and Medway’s ‘Business Sustainability Challenge’ grant, which addresses key sustainability issues and opportunities. GrowUp Farms was one of 13 beneficiaries of a grant pot worth more than £1.6 million to fund projects in the region that will sustainably transform the horticultural and plant-based food and drink supply chain.
Dr Nikki Harrison, Programme Director for Growing Kent & Medway, said:
“We are investing in real-world business innovation and research projects that demonstrate how science-led, sustainable innovation can be deployed throughout the supply chain. This not only benefits the environment by helping Kent businesses become more sustainable but also stimulates economic growth. Fresh thinking can help create new revenue streams and new markets from waste by-products and processes. “While these projects demonstrate the exciting innovation happening in Kent and Medway, we expect the knowledge that is gained to help transform our food systems throughout the sector.”
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Notes to editor: *Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a process where water purified by pumping it through a semi-permeable membrane. Conventional RO uses a lot of energy as the pumping energy is lost when the water passes through the membrane. Salinity Solutions’ technology more than halves the energy used through a patented combination of a pressure exchange vessel and advanced recirculation control, developed from theory to reality over 10 years of research at the Universities of Birmingham and Aston.
Sophie Banks / Angie Cronin, Loudbird PR and Communications
07815 147073 / 07970 810302 [email protected]
About GrowUp Farms
- GrowUp Farms was founded by Kate Hofman and Tom Webster in 2013 and is a pioneer in UK vertical farming.
- GrowUp Farms grows its salads in a controlled environment, where the climate provides the plants with perfect conditions. This means it can grow to the best standard all year round and is
resilient to climate change.
- GrowUp Farms was the first vertical farm to introduce a branded salad into a supermarket chain in the UK with the launch of Fresh Leaf Co. in Iceland stores across the country in February of 2023 and the Unbeleafable range in Tesco in July 2023.
- GrowUp Farms’ vertical farm, Pepperness, is near Sandwich, Kent. It combines innovative farming technology with renewable energy, using electricity and waste heat from the bioenergy plant next door, which means the farm is not affected by the energy price increases squeezing greenhouse and conventional farmers in the UK.
- GrowUp Farms is B Corp certified with a high B Impact Score of 104.7 points, against the pass threshold of 80 points. The score reflects GrowUp Farms’ commitment to the high standards set by B Corp to achieve social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability in all areas of the business as well as contributing to the economic and social well-being of the communities that GrowUp Farms operates in, alongside a commitment to environmental causes.
About Salinity Solutions
Salinity Solutions addresses the two biggest challenges in sustaining human life on earth – water and energy. The University of Birmingham spin-out, established in 2021, has developed a game-changing batch reverse osmosis water purification technology, which uses half the energy of traditional methods. Its patented, commercially viable solution has been described as the biggest step forward in water treatment in 50 years and has the potential to benefit every corner of the globe – from industrial wastewater clean-up and high value mineral extraction to rural drinking water. http://www.salinitysolutions.co.uk/
Media Contact for Salinity Solutions
Jane Griffin +44 7767 642930
About Growing Kent & Medway
Growing Kent & Medway is supported by UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund. It is a world-class research, innovation and enterprise cluster that connects businesses in the region to support innovation and to establish the area as a world-leader in sustainable horticultural food and drink production.