Quantitative BioSciences was formed by a diverse team of scientists and engineers with backgrounds in synthetic biology, bioengineering, physics, and computational science. We are developing several technologies that employ cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) to improve the treatment of wastewater, both on a relatively small scale on local farms as well as at the municipal scale in the US and abroad, and simultaneously produce renewable energy.
Access to clean, reliable water supplies is critical to our quality of life and our economy. Because of its fundamental necessity, markets for water treatment exist at many scales, ranging from self-contained dairy farms to municipalities and entire third world countries that struggle to maintain a clean supply of water to stave off dehydration and illness. Water infrastructure in the United States is aging and will require massive investments in the near future. In the private sector, waste treatment facilities on dairy farms throughout California are in particular need of upgrade, making this an ideal venue for the development of innovative technologies.
Even worse than the state of our national water treatment facilities is that in third world countries, where the majority of illnesses and deaths are caused by water-related diseases. We believe that improving sanitation and water quality in developing nations is an essential first step toward eradicating many of the diseases that plague their populations. The statistics are staggering, as over 1.8 million children die each year from sanitation-related diseases, more than malaria, measles, and HIV combined. Our solution will not only improve sanitation but will also provide a source of renewable energy to the benefiting communities.
The energy content of raw wastewater exceeds the energy required to treat it by almost 10-fold. However, partially treated water is frequently discharged with this potential energy source untapped and discarded. We are developing an efficient and profitable wastewater treatment and bioenergy production system: mass cultivating a strain of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), using wastewater as the feedstock. The photosynthetic growth process of the culture will enhance the secondary and tertiary treatment of the water, and the resulting biomass will be harvested and mined for its high energy content.