Friday, March 28, 2014
Synthetic Biology is Coming to the Local Wastewater Treatment Plant
Very interesting press release from Cincinnati. The world of synthetic biology is coming to the world of wastewater treatment. Synthetic biology was a huge role to play in thinking of wastewater as a resource versus a waste. Engineering and chemisty were always going to be limiting factors in terms of technology and economics in the new world of resource versus waste. Treatment plants have been and will continue to be giant biological factories - - the path to greater and greater performance and efficiency rests with what you can do with the biology.
People are going to have to get comfortable with a world of "nanorobotics" and "BactoBots" - - our ability to fund and take advantage of the world of synthetic biology rests with our understanding the science behind it all. Unfortunately, when people hear synthetic biology and wastewater treatment, their first reaction is this is how the Walking Dead all started - - at a tour of the Atlanta wastewater treatment plant.
The press release:
"CINCINNATI, March 26, Mar 26, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE via COMTEX) --Tauriga Sciences Inc. (otcqb:TAUG) or ("Tauriga" or "the Company"), a diversified life sciences company with key assets that include license agreements and a proprietary technology platform in the nanorobotics space, has today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Pilus Energy LLC ("Pilus Energy") has commenced a five-phase, $1,700,000 USD commercial pilot test ("commercial pilot") with the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"), utilizing Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. /quotes/zigman/226294/delayed/quotes/nls/cbiCBI+0.87% ("CB&I") Federal Services serving as the third-party-contractor through the EPA's Test and Evaluation ("T&E") facility. This five phase commercial pilot will include significant testing of the Pilus Energy Electrogenic Bioreactor ("EBR") synthetic biology platform for generating value from wastewater. This commercial pilot is of great importance to the Company, because it represents the scale up from the benchtop (laboratory) scale to commercial (industrial) scale. The Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati ("MSDGR"), which is co-located with EPA's T&E facility, will host the commercial scale EBR prototype at its main treatment plant in Cincinnati.
Pilus Energy's EBR harnesses genetically enhanced bacteria, also known as bacterial robots ("BactoBot(TM)"), that remediate water, harvest direct current ("DC") electricity, and produce economically important gases and chemicals. This BactoBot(TM) powered EBR technology was originally developed by Cincinnati-based Pilus Energy and University of Cincinnati microbiology professor Daniel Hassett. The EPA became aware of Pilus Energy through Confluence, the regional water technology innovation cluster, and since then has been providing support to the company, in determining the long term potential of the proprietary EBR technology platform, with respect to more effectively remediating waste-water, while simultaneously harnessing the metabolic properties of bacteria to extract direct current electricity and/or hydrogen gas from various wastes.
Tauriga acquired the proprietary EBR technology platform through its completed acquisition of Pilus Energy, which took place on January 28, 2014. The global wastewater-to-value market is currently estimated at $10 billion and is projected to grow to $27 billion by the year 2021.
Tauriga CEO Dr. Stella M. Sung commented, "We are very pleased to commence this important commercial pilot test with the EPA and the MSDGR, which has the potential to provide commercial validation for our proprietary 'wastewater to value' platform and, importantly, potential long-lasting benefits for the city of Cincinnati. A successful commercial pilot would provide a critical step in achieving commercialization and economic development goals."
Biju George, Deputy Director, Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati, stated, "The Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati is excited to be the world's first deployment site for this innovative technology. Due to our location, partners, specialized facilities and personnel, we are perfectly suited to be the pilot site. The Tauriga Sciences value proposition has the promise to change the wastewater industry."
Additionally Sally Gutierrez, Director of the Environmental Technology Innovation Cluster Development and Support Program at the EPA also expressed support of the collaboration. Much of the initial work will be performed at the US EPA Test and Evaluation Facility in Cincinnati."