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Posted: Jan 17, 2013
Electrogenic bioreactor harnesses BactoBots that clean wastewater, generate electricity, and produce hydrogen
(Nanowerk News) During the Confluence 2nd Anniversary Event at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Andrew W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, Bacterial Robotics, a synthetic biology company developing microscopic BactoBots™ announced the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 8,354,267 entitled "Microbial Fuel Cell." Traditional microbial fuel cells seek to generate electricity. However, they fall short in both power density and robustness for industrial use. The invention within the –‘267 patent overcomes these bottlenecks.
The breakthroughs are due to the development of specific BactoBots. BactoBots can be thought of as organism-based programmable microscopic robots.
With this key patent in place, Bacterial Robotics’ first subsidiary, Pilus Energy, is preparing to deploy the first waste-water-to-value BactoBots, known as RemediBots™ and GalvaniBots™.
RemediBots are added to wastewater with the goal of cleaning the wastewater and producing economically important gases or chemicals.
The GalvaniBot powers electrogenic bioreactors (EBR). An EBR can be considered a next generation microbial fuel cell. GalvaniBots operate metabolically. This is a different approach than fermentation, digestion, and other legacy technologies used in microbial fuel cells. The un-optimized power density of a GalvaniBot-powered EBR reached five Watts per meter squared (5W/m2). The technology has very wide operating parameters including significant ranges of temperature and pH. The result is a robust, networkable EBR platform that harnesses the GalvaniBot to clean wastewater, generate usable electricity, and produce hydrogen gas. The invention’s abstract is:
[BactoBots] with an altered electrogenic efficacy, biofilms comprising such [BactoBots], and microbial fuel cells comprising such [BactoBots] are provided. The microbial fuel cells can be operated as monitors, filtration devices, and sensors.
The Company also announces patent filings for the RemediBot and GalvaniBot-powered EBR in a number of high-population global markets. Pilus Energy will provide the locally patented protected wastewater-to-value technologies to local market experts through its global licensing network.
The Company’s consumable genetics rights management (GeRM™) key system protects the BactoBots from release and theft. The GeRM keys must be present in the feedstock in order for the BactoBots to activate and conduct activities. If the GeRM keys are absent, the BactoBots self-destruct. This allows the local market licensees to offer BactoBots, EBR, and GeRM keys to their end-user customers.
Jason E. Barkeloo, Founder and CEO of Bacterial Robotics commented, "This recognized work is a keystone of our wastewater-to-value intellectual property portfolio. With this technology, Pilus Energy can help move the water-energy nexus industry toward a convergent turnkey water cleaning and value extraction solution."
In addition to what is claimed, the ‘267 patent also discloses additional inventions and applications of the technology. A continuation application claiming priority to the ‘267 patent was recently filed. This means the multiple inventions disclosed in the first application can now be pursued in subsequent patent applications. This enables the Company to expand the intellectual property portfolio to reflect advancements while providing increased protection of its platform technology disclosed in the ‘267 patent.
Barkeloo concluded, "This interdisciplinary team undertook a difficult challenge. Instead of finding lots of reasons why this invention could not be done, we concentrated on finding ways it could be done. The support of our intellectual property legal firms, specifically Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP, and the Nevrivy Patent Law Group were particularly helpful. And this historical marker was not achievable without the support of our visionary investors."
About Bacterial Robotics
An early developer in the emerging synthetic biology industry, Bacterial Robotics is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio (USA). The Company specializes in identifying markets for developing and deploying BactoBots™ and ViruBots™; microscopic organism-based robots that produce, build, sense, and perform functions.
The Company's products are protected by a proprietary genetics rights management (GeRM™) key system. The GeRM system is a consumable additive that prevents the BactoBots against theft and environmental release. The GeRM enables the Company to gain licensing revenues from the manufacture and distribution of its BactoBots.
Once Bacterial Robotics develops a BactoBot, it creates a go-to-market subsidiary to launch the product. Pilus Energy is the Company's first subsidiary deploying the RemediBot™ that cleans industrial wastewater. Pilus Energy is also deploying the wastewater-to-value GalvaniBot™ that cleans wastewater and generates electricity and produces important gases.