By partnering with NGOs, donor groups and aid agencies, EnerGaia is introducing a new contract farming model tailored particularly for women entrepreneurs in rural areas of developing countries. EnerGaia has the potential to work with both farmers in Bangladesh and store owners in Madagascar to dramatically improve diets to combat micronutrient malnutrition.
Mission and Vision
- Increase rural smallholder income levels
- Improve food security in the developing world and urban cities
- Increase overall nutritional health through the use of spirulina in mainstream and local foods. Spirulina is high in protein, vitamins and minerals.
- Based on this, our innovation touches on SDG's 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12
Traditionally, production ofSpirulinaon a commercial scale has occurred in large, shallow, open-air ponds. This method of production has advanced little from historical methods of cultivation used on the shore of Lake Chad. There, the Kanembu population harvest naturally growingSpirulinafrom the lake and dry it for later consumption. While this method does have its benefits EnerGaia has redesigned howSpirulinais produced. By developing a proprietary algae production bioreactor design, we have created a system that maximizes production with minimal resources, reduces potential for contamination, and allows us to produceSpirulinavirtually anywhere.
Unlike other commercialSpirulinaproducers who cultivate algae in open ponds, EnerGaia utilizes a closed system which presents numerous advantages including:
- limited contamination risk
- better quality control
- limited evaporation loss and substantially less water usage
- precise monitoring
- significant increase in production per unit of land area
- can be installed on rooftops
- air-filtration that removes airborne contaminants
Additionally, because our design relies on the injection of forced air for aeration and mixing, we are able to utilize CO2 emissions from industrial sites reducing the carbon footprint of our partners.
The value propositions for our innovation include:
- Our technology allows users of our system to begin producing revenues within the first month of operation
- We open an office in the local community with a starter system to inoculate other users systems and to provide technical support, we can restart problematic systems very quickly (recovery time of only 2 weeks).
- We agree to purchase any spirulina that the rural farmers produce using our system and wish to sell to us (less their household consumption needs and/or sales they can make to others), and because the system is easy to use with non-strenuous effort levels, we enable an additional high-value revenue stream for the rural household, allow for the women of the households to provide this income stream without deteriorating the other income streams generated by the men of the households, and also provide a less than 1 year payback period for the system.
Planned Goals and Milestones
- Deployment in additional countries and wide-spread scale-up to meet our growing spirulina market demand
- Field testing in rural environments with target users (rural women) in multiple interventions throughout the Indian Ocean Region