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PhotonDelta has invested in deep-tech venture Spectrik, currently in HighTechXL’s venture building program.

Spectrik is developing an integrated photonics gas sensor to measure real-time ammonia emissions at livestock farms, including dairies and pork producers. By demonstrating the precise measurement of ammonia at the farm level to policymakers, officials, and environmental services, Spectrik intends to reduce the effect of agricultural emissions on biodiversity within one year.

Nitrogen emissions

This technology plays a vital role in addressing the pressing issue of nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands. The country has grappled with a significant emissions challenge, leading to widespread unrest not only in the Netherlands but also in neighboring European countries, such as Belgium. Farmers have been confronted with the formidable task of complying with stringent emission regulations. But reducing ammonia emissions is not the only problem, according to Rick Jongen, Spectrik CEO.

The challenge for farmers is the lack of real-time control. The devices farmers install on their farms can reduce ammonia emissions. Still, farmers don’t know when to turn on the devices or even understand the sophistication of the systems they need. “The urgency of the problem – and the possibility that integrated photonics can help solve this challenge – inspires me to work even harder to get the first Spectrik product to the market,” said Jongen.

Much is at stake, because the Netherlands is ranked at No. 5 in Europe in total number of dairy cows.

Developing the Spectrik sensors, however, is only the first step; getting the product to market is the main challenge. This is where HighTechXL came in. HighTechXL provides the building blocks ventures need to take tech to market, including the support of tech and business experts and business plan support to accelerate the growth of the organization.

Missing link

“Spectrik is focused on solving a significant societal and environmental challenge, providing accurate and continuous measurement of ammonia at farms,” said John Bell, HighTechXL CEO. “Without Spectrik’s sensor, any reduction in ammonia emission cannot be verified or recognized. Hence, Spectrik provides the missing link to remove ammonia actively and credibly at farms across Europe.”

PhotonDelta sees this as a strong use case and example of an impactful application of integrated photonics that addresses significant societal and environmental challenges. “Innovative applications like those from Spectrik help to solve an actual societal problem and, at the same time, help supply chain partners to further improve their processes and enrich the world-class design library. Spectrik’s innovation proves the added value of integrated photonics and the Dutch ecosystem,” said Ewit Roos, PhotonDelta CEO.