We connect companies to microalgae technologies with the mission of minimizing the harmful pressure on the environment, mainly to reduce the pollution of rivers and seas caused by human and industrial activities, such as waste from landfills and effluents.
Since 2019, the biotechnology startup TerraMares has aimed to remedy the impact of human activities and industrial waste on water and soil through the use of microorganisms. Operating mainly in the area of sanitation, the company produces microalgae biomass and generates bio inputs for agriculture and bio energy. The treatment of effluents and leachate from landfills with ozone allows the elimination of deleterious compounds, and subsequently, microalgae are used as a bioremediation agent for dissolved substances. “As more than sixteen percent of the Brazilian population does not have access to treated water, these treatments are also used to improve the quality of drinking water,” says Luiza Dy, COO and cofounder. Microorganisms such as microalgae and cyanobacteria also capture carbon emissions and produce green hydrogen. “Being ten to fifty times more efficient than trees, with one gram allowing one hundred grams of carbon to be captured per hour, they have the potential to minimize climate change and to be used as liquid trees”, says Luiza.
Born to promote the use of such bio solutions beyond the academic environment, the business currently works with companies and municipalities mainly based in Brazil and receives investments from different public projects. “Two of our cofounders had the opportunity to take part in the program Inova Amazônia, where more than one hundred strains from different biomes of Brazil and Amazon biodiversity are conserved,” says Luiza. This experience helped the company to implement its own microorganism culture bank and produce biomass in bioreactors. After being part of a startup accelerator program, the company participated in several competitions and was among the top ten biotechnology startups in a ranking of 100 Open startups in Brazil in 2021 and 2022.
The business, which started with the idea of three students sharing their training in oceanography, was shaped within OCEANTEC - Technological Park of the Federal University of Rio Grande (FURG), where it is still headquartered. Five students work part-time in the company’s laboratory and greenhouses, while three professors, all from scientific backgrounds, actively contribute to the expansion of the business. “Currently, we hope to integrate biologists, taxonomists and sanitary engineers into the team,” says Luiza. The company’s employees come from all over Brazil and other countries, such as Uruguay, Colombia and Germany. “Many students who work in the company have different cultures, and integration is enhanced by working together,” she says. “Diversity is our hallmark.”
- Achieving first place in the Centelha RS program in 2019.
- Participating in the Inova Amazônia program in 2022.
- Implementing our microorganism bank.
- Launching the program iH2 Brasil, a Brazilian and German cooperation for green hydrogen in 2023.
- Winning the Sectorial Coupling Challenge in the Acceleration of Projects of the Startup Connected Program Camara Brasil – Germany (GIZ) in 2023.