04 Oct 2022

LYIT researchers join forces with Cork company in food waste innovation

Opportunities in times of challenge

LYIT researchers join forces with Cork company in food waste innovation

Researchers at the WiSAR Lab, at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, have collaborated with Grian Water Ltd, to develop their MyGug prototype, an innovative micro-scale anaerobic digester that improves food waste management in domestic and small business settings, by turning organic matter into renewable fuel.

MyGug is a complete food waste treatment system that operates in all weather and climate conditions, to turn food waste into biogas and liquid fertiliser.

The system is fully automated and insulated, providing a convenient and efficient food waste disposal solution, which is environmentally friendly, produces no odour and has no vermin issues.

Technology Gateway Manager at the WiSAR Lab, Dr Stephen Seawright, noted that prior to engagement with WiSAR, an initial MyGug prototype had been operational for 18 months, during which the unit had treated approximately one tonne of food waste and produced the equivalent of 100kg of bottled gas.

"However, the controls of the initial MyGug prototype utilised hardware and software which were prohibitively expensive for the target sector and the device had limited data reporting functioning.

“With this in mind, Grian Water Ltd, contacted the WiSAR Lab, to access research expertise in addressing these issues and developing solutions that would make the MyGug system more competitive and efficient.

"Our team scoped out the project requirements, then designed the firmware and hardware. In addition, a basic database and web interface was implemented through an open source IOT platform, providing the MyGug system with greater data reporting function.”

Kieran Coffey, chief technical officer, of Grian Water Ltd, highlighted how the partnership with WiSAR researchers has brought significant impacts and benefits for the company.

“Our collaboration with the WiSAR Lab, enabled us to refine and advance our MyGug prototype through a dedicated research team, resulting in a more cost-efficient product with greater data storage function, thus increasing our value proposition and competitiveness.

"This invaluable access to research expertise and Innovation Voucher funding, will enable us to further define our product, enhance the end user experience and unlock our market growth potential," he said.

A bespoke web interface and phone application will be the final development stage, the purpose of which is to enable the MyGug user to collate and analyse data relating to performance, environmental impact, cost-savings, and predictive maintenance.

“We are delighted to be able to work with so many innovative Irish companies in developing solutions to problems and helping entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into a reality.

"The MyGug project demonstrates the resilience of Irish businesses even in these challenging times, and we look forward to continuing our work with Kieran and his team to further refine the MyGug prototype,” added Dr Seawright.

The WiSAR Lab will showcase more industry case studies as part of the Donegal Local Enterprise Week programme of events at the virtual Opportunity in Times of Challenge: Adopting Innovation, on Friday this Friday, March 5, from 2pm-3.15pm.

Registration is free and can be made at

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