uFraction8: Enabling the bio-economy

The bio-economy holds enormous potential, everything from fuel to therapeutics can be produced in modified bacteria without any of the horrific environmental damage and chemicals usually used in these processes.

However, there’s one major problem: separating the bacteria or algae and whatever they’ve been grown in is still a hugely energy consuming processes involving centrifuging, filtering, flocculation and drying. The result is that the cost of producing bio-products typically exceeds traditional methods making it uncompetitive. If we could fix this it opens up a whole new world of bio-production.

Brian, a control and automation engineer by trade, was unusual in the cohort in that he came in with existing technology to solve this problem, a patented flow system designed at Heriot-Watt University and awarded a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellow. He also wore a suit and tie most days but who are we to judge :) . Brian was already receiving some fantastic support from the Enterprise Fellow scheme but was looking for something more: a fast paced, high pressure environment to get to market as quickly as possibly and create something that scales.

It took a while for Brian to find the right co-founder due having much more fixed ideas than most people, initially working with Ben, Fabio and Francis, all resulting in passionate blow-ups, before working with Monika… which also blew up. But then they talked it through, got everything out in the open and remarkably now make a fantastic team.

Monika came from a background of breaking bones in zebrafish (to find better cures for fractures of course) working across Zurich, Sheffield and Singapore Universities. She first worked with Ben, Jing, Francis and Bhavish on Aquaculture waste, bioremediation, personalised therapeutics and bio-glass before finding the right fit with uFraction8.

Together Brian and Monika make a fantastic team, they are currently finalising the full scale prototype, fielding orders from all over the world and have just won the prestigious AzkoNobel Imagine Chemistry Challenge.

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