What They Do:
LU Environment introduces Biochar, an organic soil amendment derived from agricultural residues. It provides affordable pricing for soil amendment and organic fertilizers, while reducing the amount of organic waste sent to dumping and treatment facilities. Biochar is recognized to improve soil quality, water retention, and decreases the need for fertilizers in the soil. Their product has a positive effect in terms of mitigating climate change and increasing carbon sequestration.
“Meeting the selection criteria of the USAID DAWERR Ideathon, we were encouraged to apply to the program hoping to develop our idea into a successful business. Although our idea was ready, to validate the project we needed to further develop our solution to know the requirements of our systems, our go to market strategy, and funding strategy.
We’ve learned a lot in the program, especially in the areas of how to transform our solution into a valid business and how to achieve product/market fit. We consider the relationships we built and the support we received from USAID through the available experts as factors for our success.
If we had to choose one achievement in the past period, it would be the positive results we received during field testing and which proved the efficiency of Biochar as a sustainable soil amendment that reduces the cost of crop production. We can increase the yield of crops by reducing the amount of fertilizer and water used.
All the studies that proved the efficiency of Biochar in agriculture are foreign and applied in different agricultural environments, which is why proving the efficiency of Biochar under our own conditions, and in the Lebanese environment is a great achievement.
The economic crisis, COVID-19, and the lockdowns had the biggest impact on our work, the lack of essential materials and the rate of USD vs the Lira that affected the prices of everything due to high costs forced some financial restraints in our plans. Reaching people and officials at different public and private organizations became increasingly challenging causing us serious delays, while the unfortunate event of the Beirut Blast destroyed the university lab which we were working in also delaying all our tests.
Having gone through these events, our mission and vision became stronger. We are now more determined than ever to persevere, succeed, achieve our goals, and defy obstacles, no matter what.
The opportunities we found during times of crises were based on providing sustainable solutions to our community through converting organic waste into organic fertilizers that help farmers reduce their production costs since chemical fertilizers in Lebanon are mostly imported from abroad and their price increased drastically encouraging farmers to look for alternatives.
We adapted to the situation, moved our operations online, found cheaper ways to perform our tests, and applied to acceleration programs to get the needed support for our project.
By the end of the DAWERR Incubation program, we hope to finalize all the R&D, the pyrolysis process, and the financial study to start the production and promotion of Biochar.”
DAWERR: Diverting Waste By Encouraging Reuse And Recycling is a five-year activity funded by USAID that aims to improve the social, environmental, and economic well-being of Lebanese citizens by establishing sustainable solid waste recovery and diversion programs in collaboration with municipalities throughout rural areas in Lebanon.