“For the future of our country, we need innovative business ideas, with which it is now a matter of getting started together and mastering the upswing. A bio-based technology like that of Agrobiogel GmbH combines business acumen with environmental compatibility, I congratulate the young company on this and wish them every success with its implementation, ”said Jochen Danninger, who is enthusiastic about the excellent business idea.
A new product is created from a residual material from wood in a purely biological manufacturing process: the Agrobiogel. It offers great advantages for the cultivation of plants, especially in dry conditions. Agrobiogel GmbH, founded in spring 2021, is developing a unique 100 percent bio-based hydrogel, which was also able to convince the jury of the riz up GENIUS ideas and start-up award. Thus first place in the category “Ingenious Research & Development” went to Gibson Nyanhongo & his team for the project “Agrobiogel against the drought”.
Agrobiogel stores many times its own weight in water and slowly releases it to the surrounding soil. In the first application tests, plants could survive for up to 52 days without water. The Agrobiogel can convert sterile soils into fertile ones and also serves as a soil substitute. The greatest advantages of adding Agrobiogel to the soil are protection against drought damage to plants, reduction of watering intervals (up to 40 percent water-saving), and good miscibility with different types of soil.
The starting point for the new product is a waste material from wood, which is obtained in large quantities as a by-product in paper manufacture. With the help of biological processes, it can be “cross-linked” and thus Agrobiogel is created. The manufacturing process is biological, requires neither chemicals nor high energy flows, and does not generate any waste. The paper mills that generate the residual material can improve their ecological footprint by processing the residual material into a hydrogel. This makes the Agrobiogel manufacturing process a perfect example of the circular economy. In addition, the product is completely biodegradable and therefore does not need to be disposed of at a high cost.
The prize money for 1st place in the riz up GENIUS ideas and start-up prize was provided by the Raiffeisenlandesbank Niederösterreich-Wien. Agrobiogel GmbH is based at the eco plus Technopol Tulln, one of the most internationally recognized research centers in the field of bio-based technology. Agrobiogel GmbH is accompanied by accent Inkubator GmbH.