MyGug: The Irish food waste disposal start-up energising small businesses

30 Jan 2023

Fiona Kelleher. Image: MyGug

Using a process known as anaerobic digestion, MyGug is able to turn food waste into renewable energy that can power kitchens.

It’s not the best time to be a small business in Europe. The rising cost of living coupled with an energy crisis prompted by the war in Ukraine has meant that local commercial enterprises across the continent have had to cut corners to keep their business afloat.

But one Irish start-up has found a way to fit two needs with one deed by building innovative technology that can both save costs and provide renewable energy.

MyGug is a Cork-based start-up that focuses on small food businesses that grow their own food, providing them with a food waste disposal system that turns waste into biogas energy for cooking that can be used in kitchens and gardens.

“These customers will be serving food grown in their garden or on the farm and will be environmentally conscious,” Fiona Kelleher, co-founder and chief operating officer of MyGug, tells

“They will be seeking a solution to food waste disposal and energy creation for their business.”

The egg-shaped MyGug units harness the power of a natural process called anaerobic digestion in which food waste is broken down to produce a natural gas suitable for cooking and liquid fertiliser for growing.

Kelleher describes the product as “hardworking”, “efficient” and “aesthetically pleasing” at the same time. The system is automated, allows for remote monitoring and can produce data valuable to users for “supporting and learning about the efficacy of sustainability practices”.

“The ultimate goal is to enable users to see food as an energy resource, to enable sustainable practices and improve climate health by providing a solution that lessens dependence on traditional fossil fuel-based solutions that threaten the environment,” she said.

‘Journey of learning’

Headquartered in Clonakilty, Co Cork, MyGug was founded in 2021 by Kelleher and Kieran Coffey. An environmental engineer and designer by profession, Coffey is also the start-up’s chief technology officer. Kelleher herself has expertise in business admin and creative media.

Since its establishment, MyGug has grown from strength to strength and is now exporting its product across Europe and the UK. The company wants to establish its product brand in Ireland and internationally.

And to fund this growth the company is looking to raise up to €1m in seed funding.

“There is a journey of learning for our target market with our product as there is with all new and innovative technologies. This has been an area where we have had to strategise to overcome obstacles with success,” Kelleher said of the challenges so far.

Currently taking part in the AgTechUCD accelerator programme until the end of this month, MyGug is all the better for being based in Ireland, according to Kelleher.

“Ireland is a great place to start a business. Although there are many unknowns, there is a great ecosystem of support in terms of funding, skill sharing and mentoring as well as access to great educational opportunities, such as accelerator programmes,” she said.

“There is the strong networking and peer support that comes from being part of this ecosystem which is of great benefit.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic