R&D and Innovations Seaweed and Algae

Technology Turns Wastewater Algae into Biofuels and Bioplastics

Startup receives support from two environmental accelerator programs

A startup is advancing a unique way to transform algae used to purify municipal wastewater into specialty bio-based chemicals such as biofuels or bioplastics that could help reduce the risk of toxic algae blooms that often kill fish and surrounding wildlife.

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. 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,” said Kelvin Okamoto, founder and chief executive officer of Gen3Bio, a startup commercializing the technology. “It’s a way to keep the carbon cycle going by renewing the use of the algae into useful and safe products.”

After the extraction of nutrients, various specialty chemicals can be made and sold. For example, the proteins and lipids can be dried into products such as agricultural fish food.

With Gen3Bio, a portion of the revenue generated from the specialty chemicals is given back to the facilities.

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.

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This article was published on www.purdue.edu and written by Zeina Kayyali