Ifeyinwa Kanu, director of IntelliDigest Ltd
Ifeyinwa Kanu launched IntelliDigest to help combat the issue of food waste in Scotland. Now she tells BQ about her latest innovation, and why she is entering it into Innovation Showcase at Venturefest Scotland 2017.
Describe your business in no more than 100 words
We are eliminating the constraints of waste management and helping our customers to efficiently meet regulatory demands, thereby boosting their eco reputation and profitability.
Our aim is to proficiently convert every biodegradable waste to high value resource at the earliest possible time, capturing the whole resource value in them and reducing greenhouse gas emission and promoting circular economy.
What prompted you to enter the Innovation Showcase competition? Describe the innovation that you’ve entered the showcase with.
Our innovation IntelliAD is an ultra-small scale, kitchen fitted, on-site food waste digester that is designed to be safe, autonomous and resilient in order to meet operational challenges and sustainable demand.
In an era of the fourth industrial revolution, we have combined knowledge spanning the areas such as artificial intelligence, metagenomics, metabolomics, big data and analytics, integrated sensors and internet of things in the development of IntelliAD.
This enables it to completely and safely recycle food waste and generate clean energy that is directly beneficial to the end user, thereby raising awareness and commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle.
How would you describe that to a novice?
We know food waste is an issue but the current recycling system may not be sustainable in the long term. Globally, lot of campaign on food waste reduction has been evolved with Scottish Government committing to 33% reduction by 2025. Consequently, if people become compliant to efficient food handling and food waste is drastically reduced, how do we sustain the operation of the existing large anaerobic food waste digesters that requires thousands of tonnes of food waste to operate?
In addition, there was only a marginal increment in food recycling between 2014 and 2015 in UK. Thus, it is obvious that we need to re-think foodwaste recycling if Scotland will meet the target to ban foodwaste disposal in landfill/sewer by 2020. This could be achieved by devising other measures apart from imposing stringent regulatory policies that will motivate people to recycle their foodwaste more efficiently.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
The biggest challenge we are facing at this stage in IntelliDigest is to raise fund to complete our prototype development and carry out trials to validate the process.
What are your biggest professional achievements to date?
My biggest professional achievement is the ability to move from academic research to venture into the exhilarating world of entrepreneurship, meeting challenges and overcoming them in an attempt to proffer a solution to a global environmental challenge.
How do you feel about exhibiting to potentially hundreds of people at Venturefest Scotland?
It is really exciting and nerve racking at the same time, I’m looking forward to it.
What does Innovation Showcase mean to your business?
Winning the innovation showcase will mean a lot to IntelliDigest as it will open up doors for a wider network that will accelerate our access to investment and subsequent commercialisation.
Where do you see your company in five years’ time?
In five years’ time, our product will be fully developed, trialled, approved by relevant regulatory bodies and licenced to a commercial kitchen manufacturer such as Garland, Hobart, Falcon or Salix for further manufacturing and distribution to food chain businesses
What advice would you give to aspiring innovators?
My advice to inspiring innovators is that they should not limit their expectations; they should remain focus and diligent at all times as sources of inspiration are ubiquitous around us. Using the words of Peter Drucker, “I do not predict, I just look out there and see what’s visible but not yet seen.”