PostHarvest arose from the vision of a cost-efficient technology which would be used for ultra-high sensitivity measurements of fresh produce quality. This technology would lead the charge in being a proactive countermeasure against the global food waste problem.
Image: Initial Concept 1
Image: Initial Concept 2
Image: IoT Platform - Level shown trending high
Fresh Produce is stored in cool rooms all around the world, up to 45% of all fresh produce is wasted mainly because of mishandling or over-ripening due to poor atmospheric conditions. This wasted produce largely ends up in landfill, Australia currently generates the methane equivalent to around 6.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
The major design challenge here is to create a device capable of sensing atmospheric conditions accurately enough to be able to predict when the produce is going to be ready for market whilst remaining cost-effective enough to be installed in every cool room.
At its core, the design is an amplification device that is able to give highly accurate and consistent atmospheric readings. This is achieved by taking atmospheric samples and filtering them into an activated carbon-filled chamber for a short duration. This chamber is then heated causing the carbon to release a highly concentrated sample to be measured by an array of sensors. This allows for readings with an accuracy rating down to 1PPB (1 Part Per Billion) give the device the ability to be able to forecast maturation cycles and predict market readiness.
The aim of the product is to be able to reduce wastage levels from 45% to 5%. This will have an initial impact on the current astronomical levels of fresh produce loss causing a great reduction in carbon emissions. The losses of such large quantities of fresh produce also result in other large resource losses including; water, fuel, labour, time, and money. With an impending global food crisis, and the United Nations looking to counteract with their Sustainable Development Goals an affordable yet highly effective monitoring system that can be the answer to greatly reducing fresh produce waste.