Nanobubble Agritech: improving production yields

July 24, 2023

Nanobubble is the quintessential garage story. Coming back to New Zealand after working in Australia, and with a strong farming background, Leon Power had an idea that would look to solve what is a significant issue for many primary sector growers – the need to increase production yields without using more irrigated water or produce the same level of product using less water.

In a spare corner of his father-in-law’s garage, Leon started working on the solution. While Leon still works in that garage, he has now built a team and scaled the development of the technology, producing a series of larger prototypes and is now engaged in field trials on a growing range of crops.  

Leon has the makings of a successful entrepreneur and that was obvious when we first met him. Leon has gumption, thinks outside the box, understands his market, and knows his limitations. Although a first-time tech entrepreneur, he has built a business that is well-positioned to help address the challenges facing our rapidly growing global population.

The combination of a unique and protectable technology solution, Leon’s understanding of his customer, and a well-thought-out business plan secured our investment.


The Challenge:

Explaining the challenge Leon is attempting to solve is relatively simple. As our global population increases, we need more food to support this growth. Yet, at the same time, because of our heavy reliance on using natural resources to produce this food [unless we change our practices] we will eventually reach a point where the number of natural resources being utilised is unsustainable.


The Technology:

A nanobubble is a super small bubble of any gas in water, so small in fact that you can’t see it with the naked eye. Installed into an irrigation system, a nanobubble generator allows ultra-high, stable, concentrations of oxygen to be introduced into the water, and delivered to the crop roots.

This in turn enables significant productivity improvements in field agriculture yields or if you turn it around, can allow a grower to use less irrigation water to achieve the same level of productivity.

Nanobubble oxygenated water isn’t a new concept. It’s currently used for growing in hydroponic horticulture but from what we’ve seen to date, it is only efficient on a smaller scale where the vertical and urban farming sectors are producing high-value crops in greenhouses.

Success in this high-value sector gave Leon insight into the challenges large-scale crop producers are facing with increasing their own productivity without compromising our limited natural resources.


The Opportunity:

The majority of the world’s agricultural crops are not grown in greenhouses – the cost and scale of doing this is currently unsustainable, instead, they’re grown in fields.

Irrigating Crops

The opportunity that Nanobubble Agritech has identified and is unlocking through its technology is to enable the efficient treatment of the large volumes of water required for field irrigation. This improves soil quality, water usage efficiency and yield for field agriculture.

Wheat planting is a great example.

Wheat is used in so much of the food we consume, yet because of the size and scale involved, it is not economical to be grown in greenhouses which means farmers rely on field cropping.

Through access to scalable nanobubble irrigation, wheat farmers, as an example, will be able to significantly increase their production yields with minimal cost, which not only provides an increased return to the farmer, but also increases the supply of wheat into the market at no additional cost.


What does the future hold:

The future for Nanobubble Agritech is exciting. From the field trials Leon has conducted to date, the increase in production across all cropstested has been significant.

Results, while early, have compelled several growers to invest in their own Nanobubble system, and others to contribute meaningfully to the costs of conducting trials on their properties.

In our view, Nanobubble Agritech provides farmers a choice; not irrigate as much but maintain yields, or continue to apply the same water and increase crop production levels.  

Ultimately, these options provide another step to solving the challenges of feeding a rapidly growing global population.