Inventor Logan Williams is taking an invasive weed out of our rivers and streams to create a sustainable and highly marketable product.
In a win-win situation for the environment and the budding 22-year-old, Logan is using didymo, the weed also known as “rock snot”, to create biodegradeable products.
The founder of Biome Innovation, Logan was accepted into Kōkiri, a four-month Te Wānanga o Aotearoa-facilitated business accelerator programme.
Kōkiri focuses on Māori entrepreneurs and business start-ups with globally-focused ideas and high-growth potential.
Logan (Ngāi Tahu) said his idea came after seeing the degradation of the waterways over many years of tramping and fishing in the Mackenzie Country.
His research and development into didymo’s uses led to him producing a paper-like material but he also discovered how to make biodegradeable coasters and platters from the invasive river weed.
“They’re fireproof, waterproof, durable and non-toxic and I can make 1000 of these a week,” he says.
“I wanted to make a sustainable business that can improve the environment.That’s my passion in life.”
Logan, who wants to market his products to the tourist industry, is now making containers out of didymo for Ethique, a company which makes sustainable soaps.
He says the positive effects on the environment are clearly noticeable from didymo-removed rivers, but it is a labour intensive process that he’s now working on speeding up.
“We cleared a 400-metre strech of river but are now working on a filtration system and a dredging unit that sucks the bottom of the lake and riverbed.”
Logan, who is studying towards a Master of Business degree at Canterbury University, having completed a Bachelor of Science with first-class honours last year, hopes to attract investment into his innovation through Kōkiri.
The first cohort of Kōkiri starts on February 12 in Hamilton. Logan is in one of the 10 selected teams participating and at the end of the programme will present his business idea to potential investors in a Dragons Den type setting.