A partnership between a university researcher, a Vermont small business, and state funding has led to a much-needed food storage innovation that improves yield, quality, and savings for growers.
Chris Callahan, an assistant professor of agricultural engineering at UVM Extension, has taken a time-tested, centuries-old technique into the 21st century. His invention, the DewRight, is an electronic device that measures the relative humidity of food storage rooms with up to 67% more accuracy than the standard, human-based technique.
Callahan’s invention stemmed from on-site farm research. The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development helped support the co-development of the DewRight technology with a $52,200 grant from the Next Generation Fund. The Next Generation Fund issues grants to aide in the development and commercialization of technology coming from scientific research being conducted at the University of Vermont.
The new technology has been licensed and is being commercially developed by Vermont Energy Control Systems of North Ferrisburgh, Vermont, a company that invented a temperature and humidity control system for small spaces. VECS added monitoring, data logging, and control technology to the device that automates operation and allows remote access. Callahan and the team at Vermont Energy Control Systems discuss the DewRight’s journey from invention to patent in this video.
Callahan is optimistic about his invention’s future success. While the DewRight’s current market is small artisanal food producers, other kinds of businesses can benefit from his new technology. Art museums and semiconductor manufacturers are just two examples of very different businesses that require accurate humidity control.