Biological Energy Wins $250,000 in 76West Competition
NEXUS-NY graduates Adrian Cosma and Jose Lozano, cofounders of Biological Energy, awarded funding in 76West Clean Energy Competition
Designed to advance clean energy technologies and further develop a clean energy ecosystem in the Southern Tier, 76West is one of the largest clean energy competitions in the world. Funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), a total of $2.5 million was recently awarded to six innovative companies from New York and across the United States. This is the second time Biological Energy has competed in 76West. In 2016, Biological Energy was a semifinalist.
“It feels great, we’re excited to be among the small handful of clean energy companies recognized at 76West,” said Adrian Cosma, CEO and cofounder of Biological Energy. “Now it’s time to move forward, and speed up our process to scale.”
Biological Energy (formerly BioEnergySP) has developed a breakthrough, patent-pending technology for wastewater treatment that is novel in its capacity to reduce energy use, dramatically increase water treatment capacity, and eliminate over 95 percent of nutrients harmful to the environment. The company’s modular, drop-in design is scalable, cost-effective, and can be deployed in existing infrastructures. Cosma developed the technology with CTO and cofounder Dr. Jose Lozano, laboratory director for the Ithaca area Wastewater Treatment Facility. Cosma and Lozano completed the NEXUS-NY Clean Energy Accelerator in October 2016.
Biological Energy is currently running a 1/5th scale demonstration pilot Albany County Wastewater Treatment Plant, where they have launched in scale the technology they are trying to commercialize. Cosma says the company is running two separate units. One of them is utilizing Biological Energy’s technology, which allows the team on a weekly basis to test how much better their system does compared to the controlled units at various treatment speeds.
“I think the biggest differentiator from being a semifinalist last year to a winner this year, is our demonstration pilot program with Albany Wastewater, a facility that has been such a huge advocator of our technology. We’re collecting data to validate how our technology is better than the conventional treatment method at significantly faster treatment rates,” said Cosma. “We have momentum on our side and we will keep progressing and growing fast, trying to commercialize the technology. Just be be considered as a finalist, and to win, is a testament to our growth,” he added.
Cosma says the funding received from 76West will allow Biological Energy to build full-size commercial EAG units for deployment at municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants. This will increase their treatment capacity without the need of new construction or changes to hydraulics of their treatment processes. Cosma also anticipates hiring several teammates in the next three months as they look to scale up and find a customer to adapt their technology.
“Specifically, we’re going to use the funding to create jobs on the operations side. We’ll be looking for a design engineer to spearhead the scale of our modular units, and we’ll also need to hire someone to oversee the operational applications and running of the units at other facilities.”
Cosma revealed that the potential customer pipeline for Biological Energy is pretty attractive right now. The co-founders are in discussion on expanding their services to private customers, such as food and beverage companies, that generate a lot of wastewater in their operations.
76West complements “Southern Tier Soaring” – the region’s strategic plan to generate robust economic growth, community development and job creation. Winning companies have proven technology or innovation that advances clean energy efficiency, renewable energy or decreases nonrenewable energy use.
Biological Energy was awarded a $250,000 prize during a special ceremony in Binghamton. The $1 million win went to Skyven Technologies, a solar heating company from Dallas, TX. As a condition for the awards, winning companies must either relocate to the Southern Tier or establish a direct connection with the region, such as a supply chain or strategic relationships with Southern Tier entities that creates jobs.
“76West is another example of creative economic development strategies spurring startups in the industries of the future,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul in a press release. “Investing in renewable energy and other clean energy solutions also ensures a cleaner environment and stronger economy for future generations of New Yorkers.”
“There are amazing resources in the Southern Tier for companies like ours looking to scale up. Manufacturing in the region is world-class, as are supply chain partnerships, said Cosma. “We will be working with both to help build out our technology, and we’re thankful to 76West, NYSERDA and NEXUS-NY for supporting us with their various programs.”
This is the second year of 76West Clean Energy Competition. The competition will run annually until 2019.
This year, MicroEra Power (NEXUS-NY 2017) was also a finalist in 76West. In 2016, two NEXUS-NY affiliated companies received funding. Micatu, Inc (2014) was awarded the $1 million grand prize. ChromaNanoTech (2015) received $250,000.
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