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Cornell Alumnus Poised to Revolutionize the Wastewater Treatment Process

Cornell Alumnus Poised to Revolutionize the Wastewater Treatment Process

Clean water is one of the earth’s most precious resources and properly treating water to make it clean takes considerable energy and time. Biological Energy, a company based in Ithaca, NY, is on a mission to revolutionize the way water is processed at wastewater treatment plants.  The company has developed a unique technology that increases the amount of water that can be treated at one time, while also lowering the amount of energy required.

Founded in 2016 by Jose Luis Lozano, a Cornell alumnus M.S. ’88, Ph.D. ’91, and Adrian Cosma, Biologial Energy is poised for rapid growth with the help of its local business incubator, Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, and recognition as a winner of NYSERDA’s 2017 76West Clean Energy Competition.

“We’re trying to grow in the Southern Tier, and we see working with Rev as a valuable resource to help us network and expand,” said Cosma, noting that the company had already made connections through Rev that have generated technological advances and future commercial opportunities.

Lozano examines water samples in his lab.

As a winner in the second round of the 76West competition, they received a $250,000 prize, mentoring and business support. “Competing in a prestigious competition like 76West was a wonderful experience,” said Cosma. “In addition to the financial reward, it provided us with a venue to make connections and generate publicity, by getting the company out there in front of as many eyeballs as possible.”

As two longtime residents of Upstate New York, Cosma and Lozano are enthusiastic about the resources available to entrepreneurs throughout the region. Lozano, shared his excitement about the growth of the advanced technology industry in the Southern Tier, and the overall quality of life the region has to offer: “I came to Cornell because it is one of the leading universities in the world for advanced technology and environmental issues. Ithaca and the Southern Tier are gorgeous and promising. The intellectual interactions that happen in the community here are unique in the world.”

Jose Luis Lozano and Adrian Cosma present at the 2017 76West Competition.

Biological Energy has developed an electroactive attached growth (EAG) module that increases wastewater treatment capacity up to three times standard rates and eliminates more than 95 percent of nutrients that are harmful to the environment while reducing energy use. The EAG units employ a replicable, drop-in design that can be installed without additional costly renovations to existing water treatment facilities.

With the prize money from the 76West competition, Biological Energy plans to build its first full-size commercial EAG units to be piloted at multiple municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants throughout New York state in the next few months. The firm has also invested a portion of the award to help protect its intellectual property rights.