Carbotect - Rapid and reliable water diagnostics

Carbotect affords a cost effective and user friendly diagnostic tool for assuring the sanitary status of water, food and beverage products.

Photo of Robin Kirkpatrick
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Kirkonsult (Pty) Ltd

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $10k - $50k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 1 - 10

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water

Headquarters location: Country

  • South Africa

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

South Africa, Johannesburg


Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Timely and cost effective quality assurance Currently quality assurance of high risk food and beverage products is dependent on microbiological sampling and processing which requires variable lead times - between 3 and 5 days, before the laboratory results are available. Until such time as the results are available and the products are cleared for release to consumer markets , the products have to be quarantined. Carbotect offers a monitoring tool to permit a timely release of a quality assured product.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Carbotect was originally developed as a rapid Yes/No decision making tool regarding cleaning practices in food and beverage processing facilities. This innovation was developed to support a cleaning process optimisation audit in a brewery to evaluate changes in cleaning protocols with a view to save water, reduce chemical and energy usage. The changes to the cleaning protocols could be effected immediately instead of waiting for the microbiological results to become available before validating the changes. It also emerged that the Carbotect diagnostic test was consistently sensitive to detecting ultra-low levels of organic contaminants and could be used as a proactive or sentinel measure to either detect microbial biofilm or to detect the nutritional building blocks which would support future microbial growth before it became a spoilage or health concern. The technology is specifically geared towards low skilled operators in production plants and does not require costly CAPEX budgets

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

Carbotect affords all food, beverage and water treatment providers with a rapid, reliable, cost effective and user friendly diagnostic aid to support conventional product quality assurance measures. It does not require competent laboratories with sophisticated equipment and permits more responsive commercial interventions to supply local and geographically expanded markets. It can also be used as a proactive monitoring measure to address potential microbial contamination before it becomes a problem to product integrity and consumer health. During the cleaning optimisation audit, the Carbotect tool was able to provide a repeatable reduction in water usage (62%), water temperature (83%) , Chemical usage (+85%) and cleaning time (45%) without sacrifice to cleaning and sanitary quality. Thus aside from providing a sustainable reduction in cleaning inputs, the technology also affords a further all embracing benefit that is able to proactively monitor both product and process water.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

1,2 & 4 : Thus far, the Carbotect development initiative has been funded by a combination of my own resources, a grant award from UNIDO (2015), and the proceeds of consulting services using the same technology in the chosen (Food, Beverage and water) industries. 5. Future revenue will be generated from dedicated marketing and distribution in expanded and patent protected geographic regions (USA and Europe) as well as local and sub-regional licensing agreements for local usage. Further opportunities exist for differentiated commercial and/or value-add application within the small scale or domestic water quality assurance sectors. Successful granting of international patent applications opens the opportunity for international licensing and annuity income from royalty payments.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Current quality assurance technologies rely primarily on microbiological procedures that offer retroactive results that impede market responsiveness. Alternative and indirect technologies such as ATP for the detection of microbial genetic material is unreliable and reports false positives with detecting unrelated contaminants. Aside from consumable replacement costs, the user needs to investment in costly equipment to 'read' the results. Additionally sophisticated PCR tools are available.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative. do you empower a lowly skilled equipment operator in a geographically isolated or laboratory deprived, food and/or beverage packaging plant to make a critical quality decision as to whether they have the assurance that the processing equipment is sufficiently clean and sanitary to continue production and packaging of high risk and high value consumer products without compromise to product integrity, brand equity and company profitability? Conventional benchmarked protocols are limited by retroactive microbiological assessment results that constrain customer wellbeing, market responsiveness and geographic reach. Global plant operators now have access to a rapid, user friendly and cost effective diagnostic test to afford REAL time verification of the cleaning efficacy and sanitary status WITHOUT access to laboratory services and without compromise consumer health.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Other

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Bonita Carter

Rapid and reliable water diagnostics is the best way to make your family healthy. I like to say thanks to you share this information with us.