Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Purdue start-up turns wastewater algae into eco-friendly chemical products


By David Schwartz
Published: May 19th, 2020

A Purdue University start-up is recycling hazardous waste algae to create new, profitable and environmentally friendly products.

Gen3Bio’s technology can transform the algae found in municipal wastewater into a useful ingredient for specialty biobased chemical products such as aquaculture fish food, biodegradable plastics or succinic acid. Gen3Bio aims to apply its technology to wastewater treatment facilities and industrial plants that typically dispose of their algae in landfills, which is both expensive and ecologically unsustainable.

The start-up, which received early support from the Purdue Foundry tech incubator, recently secured a $20,000 investment from the Elevate Nexus Regional Pre-Seed competition and a $20,000 grant from the Water Council. According to founder and CEO Kelvin Okamoto, Gen3Bio will use the funds to scale its pilot program in preparation for full commercialization.

“There is a way to repurpose this algae from costly waste to beneficial material,” says Okamoto. “Our patented enzyme technology breaks open the algae and extracts the nutrients required to create specialty chemicals that create useful and environmentally beneficial products. I’m thrilled that our technology is being recognized at both a local and national level.” Source: https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2020/Q2/purdue-startup-wins-recognition,-investments-for-technology-on-waste-algae-disposal.html

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