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Flax Roots to Clean Waterways: A Journey in Pioneering Green Tech

Born in Te Waiharakeke, the land of flax-swathed waters where the Omaka and Ōpaoa rivers converge, my roots are as intertwined with Aotearoa’s landscapes as the flax is with our heritage. The pristine beauty of Aotearoa is my playground, imbuing me with a profound respect for nature’s balance.

This connection fueled my resolve to address a modern plight—water pollution. Witnessing Indonesia’s commitment to invest in wastewater technology resonated deeply with me, highlighting a path to restore nature’s equilibrium.

Matthew Jackson, Alimentary Systems

Alimentary is driven by the mission to provide clean, affordable energy for low-cost sanitation, focusing on innovative and sustainable solutions. We combine disparate waste streams — crop residues, which are abundant in carbon but deficient in nitrogen and water- with human fecal matter, which is rich in nitrogen and water. This unique combination results in an efficient gas mix ideal for fuel production.

Inspired by the efficiency of a cow’s digestive system and grounded in the principles of biomimicry, our technology addresses environmental concerns. It tackles the economic and social challenges associated with waste disposal. By emulating nature’s wisdom, we aim to create a harmonious balance between technological innovation and natural ecosystems, paving the way for a cleaner, more sustainable future.

Zero Emissions and Zero Waste, aiming to heal waters like my youth’s flax swamps, prevents sludge from being discharged into Mangroves.

Showcasing the Wairau Lagoons in Marlborough, New Zealand, formed over the past 6,500 years. The lagoons are sheltered by an eight km-long boulder bank created by gravel and stones carried up the coast by sea currents. Surrounding hill water accumulates behind this boulder bank, mingling daily with the tides. This unique ecosystem supports specialised plants and animals that live between high and low watermarks. Remarkably, some of these habitats are as ‘productive’ as the finest pastures, highlighting the lagoons’ ecological richness.

Our innovation at Alimentary, envisioned in Pune, India, by my co-founder Harmaan Madon, now reaches across the sea to Indonesia, aligning with their strides towards environmental stewardship. The technology we’ve honed purifies and repurposes—transforming food and sludge waste into clean energy and soil conditioner to reduce reliance on synthetic fertilisers for agriculture. Utilising the nitrogen and phosphorus from sludge, the heat generated by combining hotel food waste with sludge kills the pathogens that make the liquid safe to apply to land.

Our technology, a brainchild born from the depths of necessity and innovation inspired by a cow’s digestive system, biomimicry, is designed not only to prevent waste from going to landfills or being discharged into the ocean but also to provide energy. With New Zealand’s treasure astute forecast predicting a significant dip in gross emissions by 2030 and an emissions budget shortfall, according to NZ Treasury, which will cost up to $23.7 billion, the AIS the stage was the setting to start a transformative collaboration.

New Zealand’s readiness to fund emissions reduction could come from funding clean water infrastructure under the Sustainable Development Mechanism, reaping carbon credits, which resonates with our mission. These credits, a currency of environmental commitment, would offset Aotearoa’s emission liabilities under the Paris Climate Accord, propelling both nations towards a greener future.

The vision for New Zealand, as gleaned from the AIS forum, is to transcend its traditional agricultural exports and emerge as a nexus of environmental banking and technological innovation.

A pilot in Indonesia would leverage New Zealand’s clean energy knowledge, setting a new precedent for future economic models that balance prosperity with sustainability. The envisioned projects span wastewater management, energy efficiency, regenerative agriculture and biofuel production.

Creating Value from Waste: A Circular Way to Convert Organic Waste into Value.

Inspired by the wisdom shared at the AIS forum, our pilot project with NZ and Indonesian officials is poised to meld tradition with innovation. It’s a testament to the strength drawn from my birthplace—Te Waiharakeke—where the flax waters taught me resilience.

By merging food waste from hotels with sewage sludge, we’re crafting a narrative of zero waste and clean energy that honours the past while securing our future. As a son of New Zealand and a steward of the Earth, I extend a call to action for global cooperation, forging a legacy as robust as the flax and as enduring as the waterways we pledge to protect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image credit: Aman Madon

Written by
Matthew Jackson
Alimentary Systems
AIS Startup Blue Business Summit Delegates

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After a sideline discussion at the Ocean Conference 2017 in New York City and a follow-up Conference on the Archipelagic and Island States Forum in Jakarta in 2017, a common understanding among AIS participating countries was born. The Archipelagic and Island States Forum was then formally established through the adoption of the Manado Joint Declaration during the first Ministerial Meeting of the participating countries on 1 November 2018.

The Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum is a platform designed to include island states and archipelagic countries regardless of their region, size, and development level. A global initiative that brings together 51 archipelagic and island nations to take part in a collective forum addressing challenges of ocean resource usage for sustainable economic growth, climate change resiliency, ocean pollution, emergency management, and the enhancement of sustainable fisheries.

 

The Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum stands as a visionary platform, purposefully crafted to encompass the participation of 51 diverse archipelagic and island nations from across the globe. Its overarching mission is to facilitate a collective forum aimed at addressing the pressing issue of sustainable development. Within this forum, these nations come together to forge international partnerships and foster cooperation in their shared commitment to sustainable development. By uniting their efforts and expertise, the AIS Forum plays a pivotal role in harnessing the collective power of these island states to tackle the environmental, economic, and social challenges they face while striving to build a more sustainable and interconnected world.
Five years after the establishment of the AIS Forum, leaders from AIS countries have agreed to strengthen commitment for collaboration among nations. On 11th October 2023 in Bali, Indonesia, at the First High Level Meeting of the AIS Foru,, 32 AIS countries agreed to adopt the Leaders’ Declaration on the Solidarity of the Archipelagic and Island States. The adoption of this declaration marked a significant step for the AIS Forum to further elevate its position in the global scheme. The Declaration focuses on four collaborative areas, which are:

Our Team offers an insightful glimpse into the exceptional individuals who comprise the driving force behind the Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum. These dedicated professionals work cohesively to realize our mission and objectives. The AIS Forum, as a platform, is thoughtfully designed to incorporate the active participation of 51 archipelagic and island states from various corners of the world, uniting them within a collective forum to address the critical concerns of sustainable development.

The AIS Forum’s role is to facilitate close cooperation between archipelagic and island states in its four working areas. The forum has fostered connections and collaborative projects through its partnerships with private enterprises, government authorities, universities, NGOs, media and global or regional organisations. This approach aims to create a network of experts, researchers and policymakers who can provide insight and support to the AIS programme.

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to our monthly newsletter

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AIS Forum Collaborates with the United Kingdom to Enhance the Digital Ecosystem in Coastal Areas through Indonesia Digital Ecosystem Assessment (IDEA)

VENAMBAK’s Clean Technology for Climate Smart Aquaculture

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to our monthly newsletter