Sustainable Businesses and Engineering Processes #1
Hey readers, I just wanted to give a quick update to check in with you guys. I'm planning for the next few weeks to do research and speak to people who work for sustainable companies. This is to get the word out there about these companies to the light in front of business and engineering professionals wanting to learn more about sustainability.
This past week I've had the privilege to speak with Kevin, a process engineer at California Safe Soil. But before we go more in-depth and talk about Kevin's role within the company, we'll start with a high-level view of what the company does as well as its mission.
California Safe Soil is a company that captures food waste such as fruits, vegetables, meats, and baked good and in a process of three hours, breaks down that would be food waste into liquid fertilizer. This product, named Harvest, is then implemented through farmers' drip irrigation lines as soon as the next day. This reduced the need/use for chemical fertilizer and water usage while also increasing crop yields. Essentially, California Safe Soil, is an organization that captures food waste as soon as it is created, transforms it into a useable product in another industry, and then sells and distributes that produce.
So, Kevin's role as a process engineer is to make all of that happen. The major components of his role are lab analysis, equipment and operations support, and other engineering tasks.
In the lab, Kevin is testing samples of the product ensuring that it deemed food safe and has the product quality the customers demand. This can be checking for pathogens and checking the product's levels for different elements. Kevin states that this can be quite a challenge considering the source material he is taking in can vary. It is never the same everyday.
On the operations side, Kevin is supporting equipment with the help of engineering technicians where the team conducts both preventive and reactive maintenance on equipment for the various processes required for this operation.
Overall, Kevin is taking on a wide variety of tasks that ensure that the process is flowing well. This allows for Harvest to be made in three hours and make it so its destination by the next day to be immediately be used.
It's great to see that companies are being created are committed to sustainability and are able to aggressively respond to one of our society's sustainability problems. Especially one as big as food waste. Food waste is a universal problem and so is the need to reduce our farmers usage of chemicals, water and increase their crop yields and soil health. This technology hits on all of that and will be critical in revolutionizing the food waste and food production methods of the future.
This is only one component of many solutions that will be a part of our sustainable production ecosystem in the future.