Building a Sustainable Future through Collaborative Efforts in Water, Energy, and Ag Tech
Updated: Oct 9
Cross-sector Collaboration: A Path to Sustainability
In pursuing global sustainability, collaboration between diverse sectors is imperative. When it comes to addressing the multifaceted challenges in agricultural technology and water and energy management, synergy among government bodies, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and industry leaders is the catalyst for progress. This blog post delves into a conversation with Jose Cobos, a key player at the Water, Energy, and Technology Center who is forging partnerships across California's Central Valley. We will also explore how businesses can benefit from our innovative testing and plot demonstration program, shedding light on the exciting developments happening at our center.
A Legacy of Excellence in Agricultural Testing
California State University, Fresno, has long been respected for its agricultural laboratory and field testing, and renowned for its ability to propel technologies from the lab's confines to the global market. Many companies have placed their trust, and rightly so, in the Center for Irrigation Technology and its distinguished staff and faculty, who have consistently delivered robust testing results for cutting-edge technologies. The recognition that follows successful testing at Fresno State often paves the way for enhanced sales opportunities for these companies.
However, what happens when a company is in the bootstrap phase and cannot bear the financial burden of independent, third-party testing? Or, what if a company has already undergone initial testing and now requires in-field demonstrations to increase exposure and attract potential buyers?
The Genesis of TEST: Technology Evaluation, Support, and Testing
These questions were at the forefront of my mind when I conceptualized our new program: Technology Evaluation, Support, and Testing (TEST). Situated in the agriculturally rich Central Valley of California, our region plays a pivotal role in producing a wide variety of crops vital to the state and the nation. Here is how we are expanding our testing resources to foster the growth of business ventures:
Embracing Local Colleges: Central Valley community colleges are abundant, presenting opportunities to extend our resources to include these institutions. Our program benefits startups seeking to demonstrate their technology and serves as an educational boon for students. Local colleges, including Fresno State, place a premium on hands-on learning experiences in agricultural education. Moreover, this expansion broadens the scope of crops we can test, as each community college offers unique crops and soils with their specific challenges. Furthermore, the technological advancements we facilitate often translate into increased profits during harvest season—a significant win-win scenario.
Diversification of Resources: Community colleges boast more than just agricultural resources; they encompass solar fields, wineries, and dairies, further enhancing our testing capabilities. The possibilities are indeed boundless.
Customized Solutions: We've initiated campus tours to ensure the best fit between startup companies and college resources. These tours not only enable founders to understand the specific needs of each college but also facilitate meetings and discussions with farm managers, faculty, and directors—a crucial step towards effective collaboration.
Celebrating Success Stories
The TEST program has already borne fruit, with several success stories emerging. As we refine our processes and expand our network of locations, we anticipate witnessing a surge in successful collaborations. Some recent examples include:
Nurture Growth Biofertilizer, an alumnus of Valley Ventures, collaborated with Reedley College faculty to construct a scope of work for a student-led demonstration. They agreed to use five acres of Selma Pete grapes for their experiment. A student assisted in applying the fertilizer, mixed with pesticides, and measured the grapes and cluster sizes throughout the season. The end goal was to compare the controlled and uncontrolled acres' performance. The student researcher also contributed to the harvest and collected data on weight differences.
At the West Hills-Coalinga Farm, the farm director permitted Regenerative Living to utilize an acre of land for demonstrations. Simultaneously, the farm manager sought solutions for energy storage attached to their five-acre solar field. Relyion Energy, another esteemed Valley Ventures alumni, specializes in recycling batteries for second energy storage use. They are collaborating with West Hills to create an energy storage system that will save the community college money and enable them to expand their EV and tractor charging abilities.
A Heartfelt Thank You
I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the warm reception and cooperation we have received from the community colleges in our region. Their willingness to engage and collaborate has made this endeavor remarkably smooth. With three community colleges now actively involved in the TEST program at the Water, Energy, and Technology Center, we are better equipped than ever to support aspiring startups. If you know of other colleges, universities, or farmers interested in participating in this program or are interested in touring, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
In a community deeply rooted in agriculture, it is our collective responsibility to seize every opportunity to forge a sustainable future while nurturing success among our community members, farms, farmers, and innovators. The Central Valley's future shines brightly indeed!
Funding Available to Seed Water Power Research at Minority-Serving Institutions: Full proposals due Oct. 13, 2023
NHLBI Catalyze Funding Opportunities: December 21, 2023
California Department of Water Resources-Small Community Drought Relief Program - Deadline: Until Dec. 29, 2023
Small Community Drought Relief Programming - Dec. 29, 2023
$45 Million in New Funding Available to Advance Solar Manufacturing & Innovation Concept paper due Sept. 27; full proposal due Nov. 14, 2023
Members in the News:
Prince William has named Valley Ventures Alumni Boomitra a finalist for The Earthshot Prize 2023, the most prestigious environmental award in history!
A Southern California company with ties to Fresno State is developing proprietary technology for thermal energy storage, with state incentives bringing opportunities for business owners in disadvantaged communities.
Renewell's cofounder Kemp Gregory had the chance to chat with Les Mood a few weeks ago about how Bakersfield is a destination for innovation and Renewell's role in cleaning up the region's idle wells.
OffGridBox is a proud winner of the SolarX Startup Challenge, organized and funded by the International Solar Alliance (ISA). ISA supports its Member Countries in increasing solar deployment to bring energy access, security, & transition towards low-carbon growth trajectories.
Remarkable Ventures Climate fund (RVC) is proud to announce its investment in Valley Ventures Alumni, BoxPower, the first investment from its new fund. BoxPower’s vision is to make sure every rural energy consumer has access to clean, reliable, affordable energy.
EPIC Symposium, October 3-4, 2023
GFX 2023, October 5, 2023
CalTestBed Information Session with BlueTech Valley, Oct. 6, 2023
GROWTECH FEST 2023, Oct. 11-12, 2023
The 2023 Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) Symposium, October 11-13, 2023
The Kickoff (Big Bang! Competition and Workshop Series), Oct. 17, 2023
In The News
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Did You Know
We recently connected with the team at Harness Projects, who are currently offering free resources to support start-up organizations focused on clean energy, water, and technology innovation. We wanted to let you know they are looking for company partners and are eager to meet with members of our organization. Harness Projects trains in-demand User Experience designers as they learn and work solving real business challenges for impact organizations and initiatives. The free projects are led by user-experienced industry leaders who manage a team of upskilling professionals. Every project delivers multiple solutions and is tailored to meet a client's specific growth goals. This could include:
- Learning more about new/existing customer segments
- Enhancing the user experience of a digital platform/touchpoint (apps, websites, platforms etc.)
- Tackling new green field ideas or enhancing existing products and more!
Harness has been delivering insights and solutions for start-ups like EcoDrive and PeopleOverPlastic to global brands such as IKEA, Save The Children, and Greenpeace. You can see their partners here. To learn more about how a project with Harness Projects can benefit you, click here.
To find out more or discuss a potential project, you can schedule a 15-minute call with Mike O'Brien, the co-founder and CCO of Harness Project, by contacting Mike at Mike@harnessprojects.com.au.