Indiana startup wants to repurpose wastewater algae


In Indiana, startup Gen3Bio has designed a pilot plant to convert algae in wastewater facilities to biofuels, biobased chemicals, and bioplastics.

Gen3Bio’s technology is a 15-gallon enzymolysis unit to process algae that would otherwise be landfilled.

“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,” says Kelvin Okamoto, founder and CEO of Gen3Bio. “It’s a way to keep the carbon cycle going by renewing the use of the algae into useful and safe products.”

The proteins and lipids can be used as fish food, he adds.

The company is working with two accelerator programs, BREW (Milwaukee) and Carbontech Labs (San Francisco). BREW, which is sponsored by the Water Council, includes $50,000 in funds as well as research and office space. Carbontech Labs is a virtual incubator sponsored by Carbon 180, and Gen3Bio is the first participant.