A History of Creative Invention
Floating Wetland - Inventor, Mike Curry
DESCRIPTION: a floating bio-platform designed to lift (and maintain) rehabilitive plant species within environments of shifting water levels.
CHALLENGE: A team of environmental researchers determined that the absence of a simple plant in the complex eco-system of Lake Winnipeg was the key to restoring the health of an important body of water. Speaking to CBC news, Lisette Ross, a senior wetlands specialist with Native Plant Solutions explained “Cattails are like the workhorses of wetland systems. They need phosphorus and nitrogen to grow."
Lake Winnipeg was suffering from an overload of these nutrients, which contributed to the growth of toxic algae. Researchers believed the cattails they sought to plant could make all the difference in restoring the damaged system. But there was a huge problem: the issues being experienced in lake Winnipeg were due to excess flooding, meaning the lake levels were constantly rising making it impossible for their plan to work – cattails won't grow in water deeper than 40 to 60 centimetres.
CURRY INNOVATION: Enter Mike Curry. Realizing the almost impossible nature of the challenge the researchers faced, Mike Curry knew it was time to think differently. He knew the lake had the power to clean itself. It just needed a little bit of help. So he invented the “floating wetland.” A bio-platform that allows for the growth of cattails in water depths that would normally choke the plant and eliminate its rehabilitative function.
RESULTS: Once long-term field tests are proven successful, expect to see Curry bioplatforms used to rehabilitate retention ponds and at-risk lagoons across the province.
Poly-Fastener - Inventor, Walter Curry
DESCRIPTION: In the mid-sixties, commercial glass greenhouses began the conversion to a new covering called “blow film polyethylene.” Succeeding due to its efficiency, lower cost profile and the high-cost of maintenance attached to traditional glass-and-window-pane greenhouses, the new design would take the agricultural world by storm. But it was not without issue.
CHALLENGE: Walter Curry was surely not the first to notice how constantly the new poly-covering was ending up torn and unsecured. This was due to the accepted method of affixing poly to greenhouse frames: a lath (a thin strip of wood) and nails. As nails were driven through the lath and into the poly it made small punctures in the poly while accelerating the rotting of the wood greenhouse frame. This created a weak spot, allowing natural forces such as wind or heavy rain to tear along the nail point.
CURRY INNOVATION: Curry recognized a method of gripping the poly without tearing or puncturing it was a necessity. He tested dozens of ideas and made working prototypes, eventually settling on the edge of a wash pail due to its “perfect curve on top edge.” He had created a crude – but working - model of what would become the Curry Poly-Fastener.
RESULT: Poly-Fastener became the industry standard for small to mid-size greenhouse operations with Curry Industries selling more than 16 million profile extrusions to date.
Bio-Retractable Cover - Inventor, Mike Curry & Walter Curry
CHALLENGE: A large U.S. municipality approached Curry Industries with their problem: How do we capture the noxious odors, methane and ammonia gas emissions that are regularly given off by the compost our recycling programs collect? The compost reactors were twenty feet wide, ten feet deep and almost a half-mile long. Not only were they almost impossible to cover but whatever cover they did use had to be able to withstand corrosive elements.
CURRY INNOVATION: Based on their existing air-tight Poly-Fastener® system, the Curry team created a double-coated, polyethylene weave that when affixed with their Poly-Fastener System would allow for easy deployment in sealing not just a compost reactor, but any hole, inside or out, from 3 to 30 feet. The product can also handle large quantities of chicken litter or even control manure odors while allowing for the capture of methane gas for energy use.
RESULT: The resulting product has been found to improve compost quality and decrease metal corrosion in compost facilities while creating a more uniform temperature in the compost, accelerating the overall time involved in reaching prime use viability. The Bio-Retractable Compost Cover tends to be purchased by cities or counties which means current use hinges on specific environmental commitments from elected boards or councils, which are ever-changing. For further details contact Curry Industries.
Grain Bag Zipper - Inventor, Mike Curry & Walter Curry
CHALLENGE: Curry Industries Poly-Fastener product was already popular in the greenhouse and shelter market but was also being adopted organically by those in the ag-business using large grain and silage bags. Eventually, word came back that while the seal was exactly what users hoped it would be, the method of using the Poly-Fastener in such a way was difficult. Customers wanted a solution.
CURRY INNOVATION: The Grain Bag Zipper was created. A rolling assembly used to guide the insert strip made bag-sealing a snap. The new system was designed to clamp the ends of channel and poly bag with anchoring stakes while the roller assembly moved freely along the edge underneath the channel.
RESULT: The success of the Grain Bag Zipper was clear. Named “best invention” at Manitoba’s Ag-Days the Curry innovation has gone on to make the process of sealing (and re-sealing) large-scale grain and silage bags easier than ever.
Bio-Retractable Compost Cover
CURRY INNOVATION: The Bio-Retractable Compost Cover can help you take control of emissions and manage your composting more efficiently.
- Do you want to capture methane for energy?
- Do you want to control odor emissions?
- Do you need a solution for metal corrosion in your compost building?
- Are you looking to improve your compost quality?
Water Irrigation Conservation
CURRY INNOVATION: Poly-Fastener® water conservation systems help promote water conservation and irrigation projects in drought-stricken areas around the globe. This unique, low-cost system offers long-term solutions to food production problems in arid regions, an urgent need among many third world nations. While the concept is not new, low-cost technology offering the same effective function of more expensive systems will be of interest to many government and non-government organizations with a limited budget.