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Lucent BioSciences: Plant-based fertilizer by upcycling residues

Agriculture is the largest sector in Canada with a strong focus on horticulture. To get an impression of Dutch agricultural innovations in British Columbia, the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Vancouver and the Agricultural Team of the Dutch Embassy spoke with several entrepreneurs.

In this 10-part blog series we will be highlighting one advanced innovative agtech company in B.C. every week, focussing on its strong connections to the Netherlands.

Part 4 (4/10): Lucent BioSciences

In recent years, food security and nutrition density have been diminishing at a fast rate because of (top)soil degradation. Pollution, excess flooding and other environmental and agricultural issues are at the core of this global issue. Malnutrition causes death and health issues worldwide. This is a stark reality, but the good news is that there are people who put all their time and effort into inventing technologies that can help solve this large scale problem.

Michiel Riedijk
©Lucent BioSciences

Cellulose for smart fertilizer

Michiel Riedijk is a Vancouver-based clean tech serial entrepreneur, climate change mitigation initiatives investor and CEO of Lucent BioSciences. In 2017, he was introduced to a theory involving cellulose (the main substance in the walls of plants) as the main ingredient for a smart fertilizer to improve crop yield and regenerate top soil. “I became very intrigued and got on board. We started with extensive research trials in the lab.”

Promising test results

“When our tests proved that this smart fertilizer technology, that we named Soileos, yields great results, we raised funds and started pilot programs in an effort to scale up production. Our pilot plant in British Columbia can currently produce 1000 kilos per day and we are working towards a production speed of 100 tonnes per day.”

In early 2020, Lucent Biosciences received funds to conduct a series of field trials to use Soileos smart fertilizer on different crops in different parts of Canada. The results of these test fields are very promising. Lettuce crop yields increased with 40% and has a higher nutrition value. Other crops report double digit increases as well; not only in size, but also in taste and aroma.

“These are exciting and promising results”, says Riedijk. “We are gearing up for our next steps, which is a consumer product for home use and figuring out our large scale business opportunities globally. Right now, we’re looking at licensing our technology to food waste industry giants who have the ability to build a plant and sell our smart fertilizer locally at a royalty fee.”

Link with the Netherlands

  • Dutch Heritage
    Michiel Riedijk immigrated with his family from Rotterdam, Netherlands to Vancouver in 2009. He started Lucent BioSciences as one of the co-founders in 2014.
  • Dutch Partnerships
    Lucent BioSciences is now planning to conduct field trials in 2021 in the Netherlands in collaboration with Dutch farms and Wageningen University & Research.

More on Dutch-Canadian collaboration in B.C.?

In the brochure that you can download below, you will find a number of examples of innovative companies in British Columbia, with strong connections to the Netherlands. We hope to see many more of these strong collaborations and are keen to support more innovators.

If you are interested to learn more, please connect with the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vancouver at van-ez@minbuza.nl or contact the Economic Affairs teams in Ottawa and Toronto.