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Innovations

Startup turning wastewater algae into specialty chemicals

April 8, 2019
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Gen3Bio has designed mobile 15-gallon enzymolysis pilot plants to be placed in wastewater treatment facilities to transform algae into specialty bio-based chemicals, such as biofuels or bioplastics.

Algae from wastewater treatment facilities is typically disposed of in a landfill, which can be costly and environmentally challenging. “There is a better way to repurpose this algae,” says Kelvin Okamoto, founder and chief executive officer of Gen3Bio — a startup commercializing a new technology. “We use our patented enzyme technology to break open the algae and take out the sugars, fats and proteins, and convert those into specialty chemicals. It’s a way to keep the carbon cycle going by renewing the use of the algae into useful and safe products.”

Gen3Bio has been accepted into two accelerator programs focused on advancing new environmentally friendly technologies – the BREW in Milwaukee and Carbontech Labs in San Francisco. “It’s a great opportunity for us to get guidance from mentors, network with people in the wastewater treatment industry and ultimately pitch our technology to interested investors and customers,” Dr. Okamoto said.

The BREW accelerator, sponsored by The Water Council, focuses on fresh water, wastewater treatment and water treatment technologies. Currently, five companies, including Gen3Bio, are involved in the BREW accelerator. The BREW accelerator offers those selected $50,000 in funds, connections to office and research space, and access to mentors. At the end of the program in June, Gen3Bio, along with the other participants, will pitch their technologies to a panel of investors.

Gen3Bio is based in the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, Indiana, and has received assistance from the Purdue Foundry, a startup accelerator based in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. The technology is patented and exclusively licensed from the University of Toledo.

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