Miranda Wang [ 20 JUN 2018 | Waste Management | 15:33 ]At this point you’ve definitely seen pictures of the great Pacific Gyre every year over 12 million tons of plastics into our oceans it takes on average 500 to 1,000 years for plastic waste biodegrade and I’m talking about thermoplastics so that means with the exception of the small amount of plastics that we’ve incinerated today virtually every piece of plastic that we’ve ever created still exists in some shape or form plastic chemicals on the other hand like BPA which is thankfully been bad axis estrogen mimics in all mammals bodies and exposure to these chemicals such as BPA are highly correlated with diseases such as prostate and breast cancer so it’s accurate to say that plastic pollution is now a global crisis that doesn’t just threaten the lives of millions and millions of wildlife but also is threatening the safety of literally everyone in this room and everyone on this planet know we care about this problem beyond just looking at other kinds of solutions but we’ve always cared about this problem which is why we have plastic recycling though despite our efforts over 90% of post-consumer plastics are not being recycled this is because plastic recycling is really expensive so it’s fair to say that the current ways we have for treating plastic waste are not working and to make this problem kind of worse I mean what we have right now our parlez is taking different kinds of classes especially PT and upcycling that into textiles but plastics are very complicated and there are many many types and you’ve seen recycling barkos there are many numbers so for certain kinds of plastics like polystyrene which only is makes up about 8% of all plastics produced is actually making up over 30% of all marine pollution this is not just plastic pollution this shows you that if we want to take this problem on and we have to do this one plastic type at a time polystyrene is a good is a good plastic to start with because it’s disproportionately causing big problems and this is why I’m here today my name is Miranda and I’m the CEO bio selection my company can upcycle plastic pollution into higher value materials so my team is engineering bacteria that can basically break down eat plastics polystyrene 80 times faster than naturally occurring bacteria and when you can break down plastics faster this means that in a scale-up process when you’re growing these bacteria for this purpose you can save a lot more money on costs now this is really all targeted at the fact that it will be wonderful for us to be able to use technologies that you know Cyrilla just talked about and upcycling different types of you know plastics into new materials but there are a lot of plastics out there that is just plain pollution on this point and we don’t have technologies yet to turn that into useful materials so we need a technology that can actually break down the pollution and when my my team started looking at different ways to actually build a sustainable business because we believe that business is obvious in the end our become scalable impact we we looked at how can we build a business model around and basically a bug that can eat plastics really fast because the oceans in the end are not going so the dolphins are not going to be paying for this technology even though this is benefiting them the most and humans at least right now it doesn’t seem like a lot of people general public is even aware of the problem and that it’s very challenging to build a social impact business so we looked at our bacterium that has naturally evolved to break down plastics and we know that through genetic engineering they could become economically scalable as well as very more efficient and optimize at breaking down plastics and the first hunch we had was to say what kind of products can we make from it and the first product we identified was you know the after eat breaking down the plastics the bacteria packs produce very good proteins that can be used to feed fish farm fish so all of last summer we spend some time in the lab and we engineered some you know bacteria that were breaking out plastics and we formulated fish feed out of that and did feed trials and actually showed that our protein was able to lower salmon mortality rates by 73 percent over the course of one month now with this really good result we actually went to different trade shows in both Norway and China and try to sell this product to different fish feed manufacturers and we got seven letters and tens from interesting manufacturers but coming back we looked at our economic model and realized that although the science was ready for this sort of move the the economics were not ready because the kinds of the kind of product we were competing with was fish meal and that was market a dollar forty cents per kilogram and right now you can’t scale-up bacteria and bioreactors at that price so coming back to the drawing board we thought about what else can this bacteria make and eventually obviously you’d be really wonderful to be will save wild feeder fish but we had to think coming back because we’re dealing with brand new technologies and nobody has ever thought of and we need to figure out brand new business models to make them happen and we came across this material here called a bio surfactant so right now in the process we are developing is that we can take waste plastics and feed it to our proprietary bacteria and as the bacteria eats the plastics as their carbon source basically like how we eat glucose is able to produce a detergent like compound called rhamnolipid so rabo’ah lipids are an extremely high-value compound it’s right now market at wholesale price $700 per kilogram and it’s used in all sorts of industries such as for textile manufacturing foods cosmetics and medical products and based on our you know early economic modeling we predict that as skill by year 5 just by doing this business basically this chemical this biochemical reaction we can generate $330,000 every we just bite through that’s through one cycle of a bioreactor so I mean these numbers might be pretty off still since you know we are only about one year old and we’re looking at other ways to model this but I just want to show you that there are ways for us to build very valuable businesses around these technologies which will ultimately solve these problems we have so a little bit more about this bio surfactant currently biosurfactants our class of detergents and they replace chemical surfactants which is what’s mostly commonly used in textile manufacturing and bio surfactants are actually about 1,000 times more effective so you want me to use one one one thousandth the volume to do the same amount of work and you know we’re tapping into this because we believe that producing this compound would be able to disrupt the entire textile industry so my team is actually has been me and my co-founder for the past five years now we started when we were teenagers in high school and we worked on plastic degrading bacterial research for as a science fair project and you know I would have fate probably you know we ended up presenting this idea at Ted in 2013 and we found a bio selection a year ago to continue working on this we’ve grown our team to a team of scientists and engineers at the University of Pennsylvania I’m currently a senior at UPenn studying molecular biology and engineering entrepreneurship and you know this is a team of scientists and engineers we’re all pretty young and we we have been building a prototype in the lab and we’ll be continued working on this this company full-time after graduation which for me is about three weeks from now we’re also backs by you know mentors in Wharton and world-class advisors so there are a lot of people in traditional a pretty traditional institution like Penn we’re willing to support the sort of projects we’ve raised fifty six thousand dollars in just grant funding from UPenn alone and over three hundred thousand dollars and equity investments so that it shows you the kind of interest level out there because this is so unique this is the first technology in the world that can biochemically break down plastic pollution so this isn’t just a set of pretty cartoons this video here shows you how it works so this is ocean plastics that Cyrill actually has been mailing us we take that and we dissolve it and solvents which we’re trying to do different mixtures of on the on the plate I was holding there were bacteria that we’ve been genetically engineering those were the little blue and indigo colonies have you seen and that bacteria is able to eat the plastics and grow and these bio reactors so earlier what Suzanne was saying about fermenters this is you can see it as that fermenter doesn’t require oxygen this process requires oxygen same type of machine this is a five liter bioreactor but it can be scaled up to 150 thousand times which is what I was talking about earlier for a one-week turnaround um and what this really means is you know we can take these bacteria and scale it up so much that is able to clean up all the plastics and produce very valuable materials and now I understand that a lot of the times we don’t always have the ideal conditions to be able to clean up the plastics collect it feed it to the bacteria produce rhamnolipid and and and have you know convenient distribution channels to use that product so in the case we we do have you know for example plastic collusion a very remote site that is very difficult to get to how would we clean it up so the flip side of this technology is that from this proprietary bacteria we can scale it up in these bio reactors and extract enzymes your proteins that would be able to perform the function of breaking down the plastics without outside of the cells body and taking this enzyme we can break down basically either spray it onto you know the plastic pollution on site or it’s actually able to you know fully break down the plastics into carbon dioxide and water and the execution plan for something like this if you can just kind of imagine with me because you have to understand that the plastic pollution when is on-site is first of all very difficult to access and also so contaminated and complicated and mixture that it’s not going to be easy for you to collect that plastic and take it back to a centralized city or facility for you to do all of this manufacturing that I was talking about so that means we need to take the solution on-site and what we’ve been inventing and you know conceptualizing the lab here is a mobile depolymerizing machine that basically houses the solvents I showed you briefly in a kind of in a laboratory setting so so we would take the plastics on-site in the case what parler is doing we’ll go to the beaches where you know you collect the plastics and you have a lot of classes that you end up using for shoes or clothing and a bunch of plastics that you can’t use so in that case we feed it into this depolymerizing machine has parked on site it could be parked on a beach or really anywhere else and in that case the plastics are dissolved so that increases surface area for for reactions biochemically and on the other hand you know in these scaled up facilities we’re you know we already know one one facility in China that we can outsource in we’ve produced these grow up the bacteria 150 160 thousand liter of vats and from the bacteria we can extract the enzymes needed and combine that into the machine where there’s depolarized plastics so in that case the entire of that pollution that can be used would be converted carbon dioxide water now from this process we don’t get anything valuable like rhamnolipid but it is able to completely clean up the mess um so our our plan moving forward is we’ve currently verified the bacterium that we’ve engineered through DNA sequencing and in the following months we’ll be testing our enzymatic reactions against polystyrene so after testing the biotechnology we currently have two provisional patents and will be fully patenting this technology by the end of this year and and we’ll be exploring scale up options so that we can actually launch this technology late and 20:17 and moving forward I going back to the fact that I strongly believe that the the biggest impact will be made through sustainable businesses and you know this by year five is anticipated to grow into a 100 million dollar business which equates the removal of 243 thousands kilograms of plastics every year and is able to tap into you know the 13 so right now every year thirteen billion dollars is the is the estimate for how much economic loss we have because of marine pollution so if you think about that that’s a thirteen billion dollar industry opportunity that nobody has a technology to tap into until we exist so we’re technically the only company in that entire industry and we can start out by cleaning plastic pollution but they’re endless landfills out there that people like in Manhattan that people can’t wait for us to clean up so that’s what we’re looking at and you know this two hundred forty three thousand kilograms plastic is where we’re starting this tiny back to your engineering has a potential to do to expand and to wake a great way greater impact and that means eventually we want to be able to remove all 12 million tons of plastics that are dumped to the oceans every year if best don’t dump it we can clean it up before it gets the oceans that means saving millions of animals and also making the human food chain plastic free for over four billion people so for those of you out there in design and engineering and thinking about these solutions we’re looking for people who can help us both from a technical standpoint and a financial standpoint or other ways if you have otherwise this depolymerizing machine we’re building right now we need designers to come and help us we’re a team of signs as an engineer so you can see from my slides everything is like built like a reaction except I’m replacing chemical like Lewis structures the pictures so so I hope I hope to have more help to be able to explain what I what we’re thinking because this is the future for for what I think is going to solve the problem and I hope all of us would join a join us turning a global crisis into a even larger opportunity

Molecular Recycling
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