Converting biomass wastes into food flavors and aromas


The Israel-based start-up CannaRe Renewable Technologies LTD converts agricultural and urban green waste into valuable chemicals in the form of phenolic compounds for production of food flavors and aromas. With their innovative approach, CannaRe prevents water and soil contamination by green waste and reduces air pollution. It thus helps to reduce the release of greenhouse gases and helps to tackle climate change. For these reasons, CannaRe has been chosen as our ISC3 Start-up of the month for March 2021.

Year of Foundation:

November 2019

Addresses the following SDGs:

SDG 13 (climate action), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 12 (sustainable consumption and production)

a man and a woman in a labcoat standing in a laboratory
Dr. Rina Reznik- Chief Scientist and Matan Dahan (CEO)
Plant material wastes of peppers before and after shredding
a container filled with a small amount of filtered liquid and another container with solid waste
The end product of CannaRe's waste treatment

Breathing new life into green wastes

Agricultural waste contaminates water and soil resources and increases local air pollution, which is of global environmental concern. Matan Dahan, CEO and co-founder of CannaRe, recognized the need to address this pressing issue during his studies in Sustainable Resource Management at the Technical University of Munich. Focusing on waste management and material flow, he also realized the enormous quantity of green waste that is actually produced, especially in cities with extensive green areas. Later, working in the Agricultural Engineering Department of the Israeli Agricultural Research Organization and private Agro-tech startups developing innovative water sensors, helped him to better identify industry needs for waste management solutions, specifically for agricultural and green urban waste.The very interesting insights matured in Matan and his longtime friend, mechanical Engineer Aviad Achrak (CTO) and led them to found CannaRe in late 2019. Later on, Dr. Rina Reznik (Chief Scientist) and Yuval Levy (Business Director) joined the CannaRe team as well.

CannaRe has developed a thermo-chemical technology that allows the extraction of valuable chemical compounds. The latter come in the form of natural aroma and flavor ingredients derived from high volume biomass wastes and are generated at very distinct applied conditions in a closed environment, such as heat, pressure, and gas supply. The start-up uses municipal green waste such as trimmings of trees from the city’s green areas, waste from food production processes (e.g. fruit juice factory orange peels) or agricultural waste (e.g. stems and roots from agricultural plants) for raw material supply. CannaRe then transforms these biomass wastes into liquid, from which the desired chemicals can be extracted. The target chemical compounds from biomass wastes are polyphenols, which among other things, play an important role in the immune system of plants. CannaRe’s well-pondered treatment maintains the plant’s immune system and thus allows for the extraction of polyphenols that retain their precious chemical composition. Among the advantages of CannaRe’s innovation is that the treatment only takes about 3 hours, comes with almost zero by-products compared to other treatment alternatives, and requires low energy usage since the reaction is exothermic. This enables CannaRe to recycle produced gases for the treatment’s own energy supply. The remaining solid byproduct can then be applied to sustainable agriculture schemes. “The fact that the treatment is pretty fast enables us to do more repetitions, giving us the possibility of using a smaller reactor volume, so that our treatment plant can actually be mobile.”
And it is this mobility of their innovation that allows CannaRe to reduce logistic costs to a minimum, meaning only the transport cost to make their technology reach the biomass source, e.g. one farm after another. After the treatment, volume and weight of the input raw material shrinks to a minimum in the form of the precious obtained polyphenol containing liquid.

Next up at CannaRe

The early-stage start-up CannaRe is currently only nationally active and focusing on their research and principally processing municipal green wastes. They are soon starting a pilot project in Israel in order to scale up their technology and subsequently be able to reach out to potential international partners and investors. With their green waste treatment, CannaRe is actively contributing to SDG 13 – climate action, SDG 6 – clean water and sanitation and SDG 12 - sustainable consumption and production. The start-up joined the ISC3 Global Start-up Service in October 2020.