Ambassadors Experience ‘Hotbed of Innovation’ at Kent Science Park

Over forty Kent Ambassadors descended on Kent Science Park on Tuesday to learn more about important, innovative work that is taking place on site. Some of the most successful pioneers of Kent were amazed by the success of companies Boundless Horizons and Ecologia. The visit was part of an annual two day event in which the Kent Ambassadors carry out ‘themed’ visits to places that are currently of importance to Kent. This year’s theme was green technology.

The Ambassadors were welcomed to the Park by Alex Bushell, Inventor of the Solar Grow 1; a revolutionary system designed to aid the fight against world hunger. It is a solar powered horticultural box that can be sent worldwide which hugely increases yields and reduces grow time, producing large quantities of seedlings that can be distributed to local farmers. Boundless Horizons are sending a Solar Grow system out to Kenya to improve food production and supply in Eldoret, a town in the west of the country. The system will be a vital part of development work being carried out in the area by international development charity Emerge Poverty Free. The Solar Grow is capable of producing 97,000 kilos of tomatoes in nine months, making it possible to supply 500 households and a school with the produce grown.

Emerge Poverty Free is an international charity that is sponsoring the school to have the box sent to Kenya with the vision that children will also learn to grow seeds and reap the benefits of Solar Grow 1. Boundless Horizons concentrate on both disaster situations and sustainability within the community with the aim to cater for both. Alex Haxton, Chief Executive of Emerge Poverty Free, commented:

“This is a great opportunity and we’re delighted to be involved. We are not just feeding a child but creating sustainability. We want to let them live on their own. They don’t want to be dependant on us but have the chance to develop as a village themselves”.

The Ambassadors were very impressed with what Alex Bushell has been creating. Bernard Spring said:

“It is a fascinating thing. When you think about the improvements that can be made just by educating the people of the village about efficiency; it is such a simple idea but fantastic. That box has everything from solar power to a desalination plant: Fantastic.”

Barbara Sturgeon, also representing the Kent Ambassadors was overwhelmed by Solar Grow 1:

“What Alex has achieved is amazing. After the recent Rio+20 summit everyone has the right to food and costing just £40,000 it really is an exciting thing. This is potentially world changing.”

Alex and his team are continuing to try new branches, recently growing new plants from the Eden Project range. Alex is very pleased with how quickly things are progressing and hopes to have his boxes situated worldwide. He said:

“Hopefully we will make a big difference and transform communities. We have the ability to feed the world and we should utilise that. It was lovely to hear such support from the Kent Ambassadors. We should be proud of Kent; we have a great horticultural history.”

Kent Ambassadors also visited Ecologia Headquarters, which is situated in Kent Science Park. The company specialise in dealing with environmental pollution and designing technology to remove risk of such pollution. New units are being built and projects being undertaken. One of their biggest projects is currently underway in Ipswich which involves a vacuum extraction system to lower oxygen levels in the soil in attempt to degrade hydrocarbons. Ecologia have worked locally with Canterbury and Dover County Councils as well as abroad in countries such as Hungary and Italy. Although they have been involved with large companies, Ecologia also have the equipment to do much simpler work which can be used and deployed into home gardens. Giacomo Maini, Managing Director of Ecologia, explained:

“We have a big advantage over other companies, because we are smaller than some, we have great communication and service. We are a good company and look to encourage local graduates so was really great to see the ambassadors today.”

Allison Campbell-Smith, Programme Manager of the Kent Ambassadors, at Kent County Council, was extremely pleased with how the event was unfolding:

“This only happens once a year and we always get a great response. With this year’s theme being green technology, it has been really exciting to see what we have at Kent Science Park.”

James Speck, Site Director at Kent Science Park said:

“It is important to have the Kent Ambassadors visit Kent Science Park to see how we are trying to accelerate into world class innovation here. They can spread the news of these innovations far and wide. Kent has an important scientific community of which Kent Science Park Businesses play a significant part.”

Alex Bushall with Kent Ambassadors.
Giacomo Maini with Kent Ambassadors

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