London-based Botanical Water Technologies (BWT) has partnered with Ingomar Packing Co., one of the chief U.S. processors of tomatoes, to test BWT’s method of harvesting water from tomatoes.

Tomatoes are about 95 percent water. 

When processors turn tomatoes into tomato paste or tomato sauce, a lot of that water is squeezed out. Much of it literally goes down the drain.

Now BWT will collect this wastewater from Ingomar’s processing plants, filter it, and treat it to produce potable water that doesn’t taste like a tomato.

The U.S. consumes about 40 percent of the world’s tomato crop, California produces most tomatoes in the U.S., and Ingomar is one of the biggest processors. Working with Ingomar, BWT expects to harvest more than 200 million gallons of water annually by 2025.

BWT plans to market the water to schools, municipal water supplies, farms, businesses, and private homes in Fresno, Madera, Merced, and Stanislaus counties, some of the areas hardest hit by California’s years-long drought.

The company also envisions its product becoming a brand of bottled water, marketed as a “sustainable” water that doesn’t drain aquifers or pull water from streams.

The company has established the Botanical Water Foundation to work with nonprofit organizations around the world to supply clean water at no cost in areas of acute need.

TRENDPOST: BWT’s technology could be used to collect water from any wet food processing operation, such as pressing fruit to make jams. In some cases, the water could become an additional revenue stream for food processing operations.

This technology also makes water another part of the circular economy, in which one process’s waste becomes raw material for another.

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