Valley Grown: Merced Company Turns Unwanted Almond Shells Into Organic Fertilizer



Mike Woelk is the CEO and co-founder of Corigin, a Merced-based biochemistry company. When it comes to helping farmers grow more with less and protect the environment, he thinks they’ve cracked the code. He explains, “It really comes down to knowing how to extract carbon atoms from the air and put them in the one place on Earth where it adds tremendous value. And these are the soils. “

With 800 to 900,000 tonnes of almond shells produced per year in California, Mike saw the opportunity to make something out of a product that is normally thrown away. And it all happens in a warehouse in Merced, where the almond shells are burnt, the biochar is collected, and the vapors are distilled into their liquid product called Coriphol. From there, the organic Coriphol distilled from the burnt almond hulls can be injected into a farmer’s already established nutritional plan and the biochar can be grown in the soil, retaining nutrients, water and carbon. in the ground and not in the air.

And the results, says Mike, speak for themselves. “And so by putting that on the plants in advance, what we find is that the plants grow faster, of better quality, quite often a higher sugar content with lower input costs. You want to solve the problem and add value to farmers by helping them grow taller with lower input costs and a process that also helps mitigate climate change problems. “

To learn more about Corigin, visit their website.

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