The green movement has put environmental issues, such as clean energy and global warming, front and center on the world stage as the biggest names in finance, like Warren Buffet and Elon Musk, have publicly stated their ventures and investments in the renewable energy sector.
However, recurring issues such as pollution, prolonged drought, population growth and an alarming statistic by the World Health Organization that water borne illnesses account for more than 3.4 million deaths a year making it the leading cause of disease and death in the world, help highlight one vital and absolutely necessary aspect of sustainability that's often overlooked by the green movement: water management.
The world depends on clean, affordable water. Environmental issues across a number of industries including oil & gas, mining, refineries, maritime and more have increased the urgency of finding a way to safely and efficiently clean and manage water. BioLargo Inc (BLGO) , a science company that has been developing, proving, and patenting game changing technology for the past eight years, has the potential to impact some of the most important aspects of life by providing a low-cost, high-impact, sustainable solution for the clean water market.
A Company with Intensely Personal Roots
Out of concern for his father's great risk of secondary infection while in long-term convalescent care, Kenneth Reay Code, CTO of BioLargo, began scientific trials of blending low dose inorganic chemical compounds and absorbent materials in order to reduce compounding risks of secondary infections. The result was BioLargo's first patented Technology called Curpridyne, that features basic, safe, and inexpensive inorganic compounds that transform absorbent products, such as bed pads, blood pads, surgical drapes and diapers, and can also deliver entire line of formulated liquid products that combine to deliver effective tools that can help stop the transmission of life threatening disease and control hard to manage odors and cleaning systems that are unsurpassed.
The company then expanded in order to bring to market a precise iodine dosing system called the Isan System that has been licensed to Clarion Water. Clarion is busy commercializing the Isan System to serve agriculture, hydroponics, cooling tower and livestock production markets.
However, while BioLargo offers other technologies with significant commercial opportunities, most of the company's recent investment is focused on what appears to be its highest value and arguably most timely high impact proposition: affordable clean water.
Affordable & Efficient Water Treatment
BioLargo's subsidiary, BioLargo Water, Inc., is positioned to make a major impact in the clean water sector with their AOS filter. A potential disruptor in the way that contaminated water is treated, the AOS filter, the lowest cost contender, is a system that facilitates continuous and scalable treatment with maximum efficiency using GRAS components to destroy contaminants. Complimentary with multiple filter systems, the AOS filter quickly destroys contaminants and is able to extend the life of the filtration systems.
We take what would normally look like an ordinary filter and we convert it into a reactor,' said Dennis Calvert, CEO of BioLargo. 'We add iodine to the filter surface area and then add an electric field. The discovery is, that we can amplify the oxidation potential of the iodine across the enhanced surface area of the filter as we generate super oxides. The oxidation potential generated is an order of magnitude higher than what was known able to be generated before and the reaction can be controlled in a continuous flow treatment device. As water passes the kill zone, (the area in which this extremely high oxidation potential is being generated), contaminants are rapidly dismantled and destroyed as the water passes through the AOS filter.'
Current systems used in clean water management, such as ultraviolet light, UV, chlorine, carbon filter, and ozone, while effective, present energy, oxidation level and operational issues. BioLargo's oxidation system address these issues by achieving a higher performance at a fraction of the cost.
'Our AOS Filter makes an Advanced Oxidation Process, (AOP) available to the marketplace with an increased performance rate that's never been seen before and delivers this powerful tool at the equivalent Cap-X cost of widely adapted carbon filtration technology, said Calvert.' Our AOS Filter can do the job better than widely accepted UV or Ozone type systems. It can also deliver results at a lower op-x than the well-known competitors, given its incredibly low power requirements. In addition, early data suggests that the BioLargo AOS Filter may last 10 times longer than any ordinary filter technology. The combination makes a compelling value proposition for any industry that wants clean affordable water.
The company announced in August that researchers at the University of Alberta validated BioLargo's water treatment technology. Much of the work was led by Professor Lynn McMullen, the AOS Filter results provided positive insight into the technology's potential.
'The AOS Filter technology could be highly efficient in solving food safety problems and may be applied to improve food quality with the potential to improve storage life,' said McMullen. 'The potential applications of the BioLargo AOS filter in the food industry could be endless — from primary commodities to finished food products. The performance [disinfection] results are unprecedented.'
These results followed the University of Alberta's Department of Engineering validation tests of the AOS Filter. Conducted in May 2014, these tests proved the AOS Filter effective in eliminating soluble organic contaminants.
Taking the Winning Streak into 2016
Along with a recent expansion of staff and successful technical symposiums, BioLargo has secured a number of grants and financial awards totaling over $1 million in order to advance the BioLargo AOS Filter to commercialization. Furthermore, the company just completed a $1,000,000 capital raise in Q3, and then raised another $750,000 in Q4. BioLargo has also been willing to bring in capital from long-term investors and has avoided the more common high risk financing structures so prevalent in the small cap market.
With a pilot being organized with a major Canadian poultry producer, the company also plans to gain further traction with a number of strategic marketing, partnership and financial goals over the next 12 to 18 months. 'The first series of thresholds benchmarks would be additional grant support. We currently have approximately 11 grants approved. We have another 5 or 6 in the works. All cumulative and totaling about $2 million,' said Calvert. 'We can easily see that number doubling in 2016. Secondly, our goal is to put together at least one or two strategic alliances that offer a clear pathway to commercialization. We are focused on forming strategic alliances, partnerships to tackle the customization, engineering, scale up, low cost manufacturing and distribution to get this technology into the marketplace. All of these things need to come together. Of course a key benchmark will be to have successful execution on the pilot that is on the table already in the poultry industry. Another goal for 2016 would be to prepare for a successful up list to a larger exchange.'
A Clean Water Renaissance
With Global Water Intelligence, a leading industry journal, estimating the global water market at approximately $360 billion annual revenues per year, the opportunities are large. Vital industries, such as energy, mining, healthcare and food service, are in need of meeting environmental, health and safety standards more effectively and cost efficiently. Calvert adds, 'The significance of the moment for BioLargo is, that we are emerging from a pure R & D focused technology company into a company with a powerful 'tool kit' to serve customers and help them efficiently tackle real life water challenges. Our validations are beyond reproach and the technical claims, 'unprecedented'. The commercial opportunities are expanding rapidly.'