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Meet a low carbon entrepreneur supported through EIT Climate-KIC at ECCI who’s truly taken the adage ‘waste not, want not’ to heart. Founder and Director of IntelliDigest, Ifeyinwa Kanu, is developing the world’s first autonomous, ultra-small scale organic waste digester, called IntelliAD.

Ifeyinwa wants to revolutionise food waste with her invention, which is already attracting investment and awards. She took part in our EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator programme.

A bit about Ifeyinwa

  • Name: Ifeyinwa Rita Kanu
  • Job: Founder and Director of IntelliDigest
  • Lives in: Edinburgh
  • Background: Researcher (PhD) in Civil Engineering.
  • Inspiration comes from: Figuring out solutions to problems.

So how does IntelliAD work?

This kitchen-fitted, onsite digester turns food waste into high quality biogas, safely and in line with regulations. Customers can use the same boiler for natural gas and biogas to generate clean energy.

IntelliAD is able able to measure recycling efficiency and heat decarbonisation in order to reduce food wastage. The idea is to capture the whole resource value of biodegradable waste.

“IntelliAD takes the hassle out of waste management, while at the same time generating renewable energy.” IntelliDigest Founder, Ifeyinwa Kanu

The journey so far

The idea for IntelliAD was born out of Ifeyinwa’s aspiration to help provide solutions to global environmental challenges.

She took part in Climatelaunchpad - the world's biggest green ideas competition - in 2016 and went on to win a place on our Climate-KIC Accelerator programme in summer 2017. Since then, she’s made great strides in developing her idea into a commercially-viable low carbon business.

In September 2017 IntelliDigest was selected for the Innovation Showcase at the national summit Venturefest Scotland. The event presented Scotland’s most creative companies inventing groundbreaking products and services.

Later in 2017, Ifeyinwa was invited to take part in the final of Pitch@Palace 8.0. Held at St James's Palace, the event connected entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses with potential supporters, including CEOs, angels and mentors.

IntelliAD also won an IET Innovation Award in 2017, one of five accolades the start-up has bagged so far.

And on International Women’s Day 2018, the business was voted winner in the Growth category in the AccelerateHER Awards. This gave Ifeyinwa the chance to present her business to international investors later the same year.

How ECCI is helping

Being part of our EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator programme gave Ifeyinwa ongoing support throughout her business development process.

The programme arms participants with the knowledge, resources, and coaching they need to get their low carbon idea investment-ready. “It offered me an invaluable opportunity to work with a very supportive team of mentors, trainers and fellow entrepreneurs,” says Ifeyinwa.

The Accelerator helped Ifeyinwa refine her business pitch and work out the best way to highlight the green potential of IntelliAD. It also gave her access to a huge network of other climate positive start-ups, established businesses and thought-leaders.

“I learnt how to effectively calculate the climate impact of my product, as well as develop a convincing business plan.” IntelliDigest Founder, Ifeyinwa Kanu

What’s next?

Ifeyinwa has already established a good relationship with Highland Council, an early adopter of IntelliAD.

She’s keen to start pushing the digester to new markets, including the hospitality sector: “IntelliAD is designed to work for any food waste producer, from households and food-related businesses, to hospitals and schools. So really, the sky’s the limit.”

Long-term, Ifeyinwa wants to diversify and develop complementary products that will allow her food digester to be used in offices or on the move.

She says: “Our vision is that IntelliDigest will remain a game changer in evolving new application and adaptation of anaerobic digesters, including more robust farm and sewage digesters.”

Interested in EIT Climate-KIC?

Feeling inspired by Ifeyinwa’s story? Find out more about the Climate-KIC programme at ECCI.