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Climate change, pollution, and food sustainability are increasingly becoming a global problem. But as we only have one Earth (for now), we must push for innovations in planetary health.
Biology as a technology is well-suited for solving problems at the planetary scale as it naturally grows and feeds into a circular economy. Come hear how startups are using biology to create renewable energy, decrease plastics and dye processing waste, and feed the planet with healthy protein.
Food and drinks provided.
Michelle Zhu, CEO of Tinctorium (tinctoriumbio.com)
Tinctorium is making the greenest bluejeans for the planet, using biofermentation in their indigo dye process. Across the $100 billion jeans market today, the vast majority of blue denim relies on chemical synthesis and chemical reduction, which significantly harms both the environment and the health of denim workers. Even naturally-grown, plant indigo is reduced with corrosive chemicals. Tinctorium is unique among denim producers, as their system is both scalable and free of chemical synthesis and reduction.
Alex Lewis, CEO of Electro-Active Technologies (electroactive.tech)
Around the world, biomass is inefficiently converted to biogas or syngas, then to useable electricity. A more efficient approach is to convert liquid biomass and food waste straight to hydrogen for fuel cells. The founders of ElectroActive developed this bioconversion technology at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Their modular power cubes will be used in any quantity to provide renewable power anywhere food waste or biomass is prevalent. Electro-Active is a scalable solution that serves many industrial supply chains, especially in municipalities that have banned food waste from landfills.
Paul Schmitzberger, CEO of Blue Planet Ecosystems (blue-planet-ecosystems.com)
Blue Planet develops modular systems that turn sunlight into fish — at an industrial scale. A Blue Planet Ecosystem is a closed-loop stack of six shipping-containers; the system continuously self-optimizes as algae grows on the sunlight, zooplankton grows on the algae, and high-value commercial fish grows on the zooplankton. Thermal energy management and marine life conversion efficiency is handled by their software. In locations where land is cheap and sunlight is plentiful, dozens or hundreds of stacks can be deployed by customers. These will be countries, infrastructure investors, foodservice operators, farmers, and land-developers with temporarily-unused properties.
Mart Salumäe, CEO of Decomer Technologies (decomertechnology.com)
Plastics pollution is an exploding issue for CPG brands as the environmental impacts of products designed to be used for minutes but last for lifetimes is seen. Rather than attempt to change mass-market consumer behavior, industry is challenged to think green while maintaining convenience.
To solve this, Decomer Technology has developed a new sustainable packaging material that is edible and rapidly dissolves in liquids. It has widespread uses across the food industry, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and detergents. Their material is odorless, tasteless, and hypoallergenic, though flavors and micronutrients can be added. It can be tuned to dissolve in cold water, or hot water, or both. It’s very low cost and scalable for high volume manufacturing uses.
Matt Gibson, CEO of New Culture (newculture.co.nz)
New Culture is making cheese without the cow. Combining dairy proteins, expressed by microflora, with plant lipids and sugars, their method arrives at curds that are then advanced into the traditional cheesemaking process, be that stirred, kneaded, stretched or aged. New Culture’s cheese has the signature textural properties and qualities that we’re all familiar with in dairy cheese.