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Innovative filtration system to help chip shops and takeaways meet waste regulations
An invention with "huge potential" to help businesses such as chip shops comply with a new law banning food waste entering the drainage system can move to its next stage of development thanks to funding secured by Abertay University.

Innovative filtration system to help chip shops and takeaways meet waste regulations

AN INVENTION with "huge potential" to help businesses such as chip shops comply with a new law banning food waste entering the drainage system can move to its next stage of development thanks to funding secured by Abertay University.

The filtration system idea came about when Malcolm Wood, managing director of Fife-based fruit and vegetable wholesaler Ivan Wood & Sons, decided to come up with a way to meet the new legislation, which becomes effective in January 2016.

The law intends to stop starch from products such as rice and potatoes blocking pipes, which causes major, costly damage, and businesses like fish and chip shops, fast food outlets and Chinese takeaways will need to have a mechanism in place to restrict the amount of starch going down the drain.

Mr Wood said he initially pursued an affordable filtration-system design so that his own business, which processes 30,000 kilos of potatoes a week to make Woody's Chips, could meet the requirements.

Its suitability for broader use, however, soon became apparent, with Mr Wood realising that there was a gap in the market to help other firms.

He said: "When I first started working on this design, I had no idea it was going to have so much potential."

After a year of developing a working prototype, he approached Interface, which unites Scottish businesses and higher-education institutions, to see if they could help him progress his idea.

Interface connected him with Abertay University, and he and the latter organisation submitted a joint application for funding, and secured a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) from Innovate UK and the Scottish Funding Council.

Regarding his invention, Mr Wood said: "Although there are systems that exist which do something similar, they are priced far too high for most businesses to be able to afford them.

"I certainly couldn't, so I'm really pleased to have been awarded this KTP with Abertay, as it means my invention will be able to help other businesses that would otherwise be struggling to find a way to comply with the new legislation."

Dr Jon Wilkin, senior food technologist at Food Innovation @ Abertay, said the KTP "means we'll be able to build his design commercially, ensure that it works and also investigate new ways to make use of the starch that's extracted so that nothing goes to waste".

He added that there are more than 10,500 fish and chips shops in the UK, and an equal number of Chinese and Indian takeaways, who will need to meet the new law.

"The hotel and restaurant trade will also have to adapt, so Malcolm has really hit on a great idea with this design, as there is a genuine commercial need for it," he continued.

Dr Wilkin, who will lead the project with Professor Joe Akuna from the university's Urban Water Technology Centre, also noted that Mr Wood's business has already been contacted by third parties interested in the final product.

"We're looking forward to getting started on this new project," he said.

The Herald, 17 December 2014

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