UBC post-doctoral student wins $1.9 million from Prince William, Elon Musk competitions


Kevin Kung has helped develop a small-scale technology that transforms what is left in the field after harvest into fertilizer

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There have been many established names in the life of Kevin Kung. The postgraduate student attended the University of British Columbia, Cambridge University, MIT, Princeton University, and was attracted to the Duke of Cambridge and Elon Musk.

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But its expertise is not in the same categories – however – it is a way to convert what is left in the field after harvest into fertilizer. You’ve been called shaking , the process takes biomass waste (dead or forest residues, for example) into fertilizers, food or fuel. This is not new, but Kung and his partner have taken the idea and reduced it to a portable machine that can help farmers turn crop residues into something valuable that they can return to their farms or sell to supplement their income.

Kung and Vidyut Mohan of India founded Social Enterprise Takachar . “Globally, some $ 120 billion worth of crops and forest residues are burned outdoors each year. Used properly, the remainder represents a $ 10 billion global market, “its website says.

Mohan made Forbes 30 Under 30 – Asia – Social Entrepreneurs wrote and won the EU Environment Program Young Champion of the Earth award in 2020; in the video, he explains their plan.

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Sorry, but this video failed to open.

Last month, Takachar withdrew a total of $ 1.9 million from the opening of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Earthshot Prize , as well as from XPrize and a Musk Foundation’s Carbon Removal competition, which he entered as “Takachar (Safi Organics) from the University of British Columbia, Northeastern University and IISC Bangalore (Canada, India, Kenya & United States).”

Takachar’s MiniTorr, which drives behind a tractor, eliminates the need for a farmer or forester to haul growing debris elsewhere and bring in fertilizer. This alone saves fuel consumption. But it also helps to reduce smoke and burning in the field after harvest. In Canada, mobile phones can help loggers acquire professional skills in dense jungles or mountains.

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Kung was born in Taiwan and grew up in Vancouver. The Takachar technical director is currently in Phase 3 of the UBC business program and is a fellow medical and biology student at the school.

Kung is an old form of technology.
Kung is an old form of technology. Photo courtesy of MIT News via UBC

“When I was younger,” he said your newsletter Vancouver is Wonderful, “I grew up near a field of rice and I remember the time when farmers burned the stubble that was left after the harvest, which caused a lot of local gas. There will always be an unpleasant smell to the smoke and smell in the air, different meanings now. “

The company’s website reports on the benefits of the environment: “Takachar expertise reduces smoke emissions by 98 percent, which would help improve air quality that currently shortens the lives of affected people by five years.” It estimates that it will raise the total income of the rural population by 40 percent by creating a market for crop residues.

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