Press Releases

August 2015

TEDCO’s Technology Validation Program, TVP, sees its first start-up, Manta Biofuel

TEDCO’s Technology Validation Program (TVP) sees its first start-up, Manta Biofuel. Dr. Ryan Powell, a graduate student in Dr. Russell Hill’s laboratory, has worked on ferromagnetic bead-based algae harvesting technology to make algae a profitable and renewable source of fuel.  Dr. Powell used the TVP funding to prove that the algae could be removed from the beads and that the beads could be recycled for further use.  With this successful technology as its basis, Dr. Powell began a start-up company, Manta Biofuel. The company licensed the technology from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences (UMCES), the first license from the Baltimore site of UMCES, and has managed to succeed in his mission of creating an efficient, low cost method of harvesting algae.

Since the initial TVP funding, Manta Biofuel has received funding from other sources and added more members to its team including a business advisor from TEDCO’s Maryland Entrepreneurs Resource List (MERL). Manta has also received over half a million dollars in an additional funding from the US Department of Energy, Maryland Industrial Partnership, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Invest Maryland Challenge, and the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technologies REEF program. The company’s first pilot facility was in Reisterstown, Maryland. Since then the company has set up a larger production facility in Thurmont, MD.

The Technology Validation Program provides funding to validate a technology for a specific application and/or to validate the market opportunity for a technology. The Maryland Entrepreneurs Resource List provides a list of experienced business people who are available to mentor or provide leadership to early stage companies.