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PhotonDelta invests in Spectrik, an integrated photonics venture addressing nitrogen crisis

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.

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 protests not only in the Netherlands but also in neighbouring 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 lack of real-time control. The devices farmers install on their farms can reduce ammonia emissions, but 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 comes in.

HighTechXL provides all the building blocks ventures need to take tech to market, including the support of more than 400 tech and business experts and business plan support to accelerate the growth of the overall organization. HighTechXL is the only deep-tech venture builder in the Netherlands and has focused on integrated photonics technologies for the past year.

“Spectrik is focused on solving a significant societal and environmental challenge, viz. 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 very strong use case and example of an impactful application of integrated photonics that addresses major societal and environmental challenges. The partnership demonstrates the open innovation culture and collective ambition of the integrated photonics ecosystem to grow together.

“The Netherlands is home to an end-to-end value chain for integrated photonics solutions,” said Ewit Roos, PhotonDelta CEO.

“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 both the added value of integrated photonics and the Dutch ecosystem.”

About Spectrik

Spectrik is a deep-tech venture developing a gas sensor to measure real time ammonia at livestock farms, reducing the effect of agricultural emissions on biodiversity.

Rick Jongen, CEO

+31 6 28127489

About PhotonDelta

PhotonDelta is a growth accelerator and an end-to-end value chain for photonic chips that designs, develops and manufactures innovative solutions that contribute to a better world.

About HighTechXL

HighTechXL is the Netherlands’ premier deep-tech venture builder. Based at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, HighTechXL mobilizes the unique skills and networks of a global ecosystem by combining deep tech with entrepreneurship.

HighTechXL builds deep-tech ventures to solve grand societal challenges. Startups must address one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to enter the program.