Clean Crop Technologies: Success Story

Solving world hunger one peanut at a time.

The Clean Crop founders accepting a giant check from LEVER.

Change must come beyond the farm

Food waste is a massive problem. Though this is not a new revelation, this crisis worsens everyday as the human population grows and our food system becomes increasingly strained. Innovation at every level of the food supply chain is needed to combat the billions of dollars and tons of food lost each year, and perhaps no one knows this better than Clean Crop Technologies co-founder Dan White. Through his work in both agriculture development and supply chain around the world, Dan – along with co-founder Daniel Cavanaugh – kept running into food waste challenges that proved to be major barriers to economic growth for food producers worldwide.

One such challenge, and the inspiration for his future startup, is the frequent appearance of aflatoxins – poisonous substances produced by fungi – in nuts and grains. When aflatoxins infiltrate a crop, it can no longer be sold to high value markets which can destroy the value of food produced by small farmers. This prove particularly devastating in areas like East Africa where this type of farming is common. Mycotoxins and molds lead to an estimated 500 million tons of supply chain food waste, resulting in $250 billion lost and 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions; aflatoxins alone affect 40% of harvests worldwide, causing over 100,000 deaths and $1.7 billion in lost revenue every year.

This startup is changing the food supply chain forever

After observing these issues and the ineffective measures being taken to combat them, the CCT team took matters into their own hands and partnered with scientists and researchers to develop their breakthrough high-voltage atmospheric cold plasma technology. The Western MA startup’s innovative technology takes ambient air and passes it through a high voltage electric field, creating reactive gases that can degrade 83% of toxins and 99% of molds, as well as extend shelf-life for weeks. It avoids heating, cooking, and washing, and does not leave a chemical residue, providing a scalable solution that can be applied anywhere throughout the food supply chain.

FORGE’s impact: ecosystem access

CCT approached FORGE in April of 2019 with a workable prototype, seeking the right resources to build next gen prototypes and initiate low volume production. Not only did our team connect them with relevant manufacturers through our network of hundreds of qualified suppliers, but FORGE also helped them access our ecosystem partner MassChallenge, which was instrumental in preparing the startup to secure a $2.75 million seed round to continue their product development. Additionally, our team helped CCT find R&D lab space that allowed them to remain local in Western MA. Currently working through the many engineering phases of their product and with a FORGE referral Cofab Design, the CCT team plans to use these right-fit FORGE connections to move their product toward commercial deployment in 2021.

“I reached out to the Manufacturing Initiative in April for help identifying potential manufacturing partners in Massachusetts,” said Dan White. “We have a frontier technology, and I was having trouble finding manufacturers with the right skillset. The team immediately understood my needs, and connected me with three solid service providers one of which we have secured to support our R&D and (eventual) manufacturing needs.”

FORGE looks forward to continuing to support Clean Crop Technologies as they look to make the leap to revenue in 2021. CCT continues to succeed, ridding aflatoxin from the global food supply, one peanut at a time.