We are so excited to present our third finalist team, team AlgoBio. In this blog post, you will learn more about their solution and the team behind it.
Who are the people behind team AlgoBio?
Our team is composed of Anneke, Elias, and Tessah and we are all graduates from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of applied science in Nanotechnology Engineering.
Anneke: I recently graduated from Honours Nanotechnology Engineering. During my undergrad, I gained over 1-year experience in R&D Engineering at 2 different companies in the nano/biotechnology industry. My co-ops gave me exposure to early product development and start-up life. My team and I have been developing AlgoBio’s technology for 2 years while finishing school. Since graduating in May, I have been working full-time on this venture learning about business models, market opportunities, and pitching. I enjoy learning about innovative technologies in the bio- & nano-technology field that will help improve human health and the environment.
Elias: I recently graduated from Honours Nanotechnology Engineering. I have a French background and speak fluent English and Italian. I am very fond of the biotech field which has led me to pursue positions in R&D at pharmaceutical companies and develop my research acumen.
Tessah: Recently graduated from Honours nanotechnology Engineering with a minor in management sciences. During my undergrad, I gained over 2 years of experience working in product-centric environments. Recently working on taking a tech-based product from idea to launch, gaining hands-on stakeholder management, business development, product lifecycle management, and marketing. I enjoy being a part of positive change and am passionate about creating a better place for the world of tomorrow.
Tell us a bit about your solution
Our solution was first conceived at the University of Waterloo as our fourth-year design project. Our goal as a team was to develop a technology with a positive environmental impact. We learned through a toxicology course about the dangers of flame retardants due to the widespread use of toxic compounds.
This led us to research a sustainable and non-toxic material that could substitute these halogenated compounds. This is when we discovered that a biopolymer extracted from algae had intrinsic flame retardancy properties. We were then able to improve the flame retardancy of the biopolymer by incorporating nanoparticles.
Eventually, we produced a functioning flame-retardant coating at a very cost-competitive rate. We are now collaborating with a number of companies interested in our product as we aim to introduce our substitute non-toxic flame retardant on the market.
What made you apply to the Ocean Community Challenge?
We applied to the Ocean Community Challenge because the core of our technology relies on an aquatic resource, algae. The biopolymer we extract is found in many types of algae as well as in invasive types of seaweed. Our goal is to harvest the invasive seaweed to protect coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs which suffer from quality of water deterioration due to the decaying seaweed. We believe that our mission aligns with the Ocean Community to preserve our oceans while harnessing the resources it provides us in a sustainable way.