Alumni August: NSF and NOAA Standouts
by Sharon Senko
Larta Institute's National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Commercial Assistance Program (CAP) aides innovative entrepreneurs to get their product from idea into invention. This #AlumniAugust, we are proud to feature two recent alumni who have gone above and beyond the call for sustainable practices, utilizing readily available materials to create viable solutions to the world's largest problems.
Living Ink Technologies
Fort Collins, CO
Led by Scott Fulbright and Steve Albers, Living Ink Technologies is a bioscience research and product company developing the first environmentally safe and sustainable color pigments grown from algae. While a majority of printing ink currently used today is produced from toxic petroleum products, the ink they’ve created is 100% biodegradable, and therefore renewable, sustainable, and safe.
Living Ink works with several partners, using their ink formulation for printing on packaging, stationary, marketing material and business cards. Currently, they are also working on developing a second ink technology – a time lapse ink that reveals itself as the algae grows. We highly recommend viewing Scott’s TED talk on algae being the ink of the future here, where he also demonstrates a time lapse ink greeting card.
Living Ink was a participant in our NSF Commercialization Assistance Program for Phase I awardees (NSF-CAP1), working with Lou Scarmoutzos, and was awarded a Phase II award in March of 2018. In March they were also invited to participate in the prestigious Plug and Play accelerator. We were so pleased to reconnect with this innovative team at the NSF Phase II Conference, and are proud to have them as an alumnus in our network!
The Cultured Abalone Farm
Red abalone holds a special place in the hearts of many Californians, though overfishing in the 1970s and 80s decimated the population along our coastline. The Cultured Abalone Farm works to restore the population and provide high quality red abalone for the US domestic seafood market. TCAF raises the abalone from hatchery to market, using locally harvested seaweeds and the cool clean waters of the Santa Barbara Channel. It is of utmost importance to TCAF that they maintain the highest environmental stewardship standards, as demonstrated by their partnership with The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program.
The Cultured Abalone Farm was a participant in our NOAA Commercialization Assistance Program for Phase II awardees (NOAA-CAP), working with Bob Calcaterra. Their research aims to develop ocean acidification resistance in commercial red abalone aquaculture, by developing genetic lines of abalone resilient to this change. Development of a resilient abalone strain would help to boost domestic production of aquaculture, and provide sustainable food sources to the growing population.
We look forward to visiting to visiting TCAF’s facilities in Goleta in the near future!
If you’re interested in abalone and how it can be prepared and served, we recommend viewing The Cultured Abalone Farm’s recipe videos here.