New Vancouver Island startup, Nyoka Design Labs, has received a grant from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program to partner with the UBC Materials and Manufacturing Research Institute’s Circular Economy Seed Funding Initiative. The $9,500 grant covers the salary of a research technician to continue research initiatives led by Nyoka Design Labs.
“Thanks to this grant, we will be able to further develop our initial findings regarding a novel use for biochar, a carbon-negative material that is most commonly used to increase soil health, by increasing water retention, decreasing nutrient loss, and increasing microbial abundance and diversity,” said Nyoka founder/CEO Paige Whitehead, a Comox resident. “Our goal as a company is to continue to develop material innovations which are better for the health of our communities and our planet. It is an honour to be working together with the UBC Materials and Manufacturing Research Institute, who have worked with similar innovative companies such as the popular Eco-poxy Resins, Performance Biofilaments, and Advanced BioCarbon 3D.”
The research project is supported by Dr. Seethaler, engineering professor at the UBC School of Engineering, Kathleen Draper of the Ithaka Institute for Carbon Intelligence, and BC company Core Landscape Products.
The seed funding is to boost the research capacity of innovative BC companies working to create a sustainable world. Rather than using new materials, a circular economy solution aims to take a ‘waste’ material and give it value. Biochar, the material Nyoka Design Labs is studying, is often made from agricultural waste that would be burned or left to rot, contributing to excess atmospheric carbon. B.C. in particular with its logging industry could be transitioning to a circular economy model and turning this waste into a valuable resource that helps support carbon sequestration and ecosystem restoration initiatives.
Nyoka Design Labs is best known for their Light Wand project – a glow stick that is non-toxic and powered with biodegradable bioluminescent enzymes. Their research interests are focused on creating materials that are non-toxic and better for the environment, with a special emphasis on supporting the soil microbiome.
Follow Nyoka Design Labs online at @lightbynyoka.com, and sign up for updates at www.lightbynyoka.com.