Scaling Biology to Solve Urgent Environmental Challenges Across Mining, Plastics & Emerging Contaminants

Scaling Biology to Solve Urgent Environmental Challenges Across Mining, Plastics & Emerging Contaminants

Author: Nicole Richards, CEO

Our mission at Allonnia is to solve the world’s toughest environmental problems by leveraging our planet’s natural biodiversity and the power of biological engineering. Visionary solutions to these challenges that may once have seemed like moonshots— like mining sustainability, CO2 sequestration, plastics upcycling, and PFAS remediation — can be unlocked at the microscopic level through nature. Allonnia uses biological tools and engineering to discover, accelerate and augment these natural solutions in order to scale them into commercial products.

We recently raised $30 million in new capital through a Series A extension that will help us deliver on this goal and address environmental challenges across mining, plastics and emerging contaminants. The problems we’re solving are urgent and vital not only to our ecosystem but to human health, and our solutions are focused on high-impact areas that can help us achieve a world without waste.

Here’s a closer look at the three areas we’re focused on and the solutions we’re most excited about.

Emerging Contaminant Bioremediation

Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ like PFAS and 1,4-dioxane are contaminating the environment, including drinking water that millions of people rely on. By optimizing natural solutions like bioremediation, we can safely remove these harmful substances.

Last year we introduced our deployment of EPOC Enviro’s SAFF® technology, which permanently reduces PFAS while ensuring zero harm to the environment. SAFF technology has successfully processed 130 million gallons of PFAS contaminated water.

In May, we announced our breakthrough bioremediation solution, Allonnia 1,4 D-Stroy™. Using natural microbes, our product is capable of degrading 99% of the harmful forever chemical 1,4-dioxane from contaminated groundwater. 1,4 D-Stroy gives industrial manufacturers, state and federal municipalities, and remediation contractors a natural, effective and scalable solution for removing one of the most prevalent emerging contaminants. This is a major step toward tackling some of the world’s toughest environmental challenges using the power of nature.

Mining Sustainability

Within the metals and mining sector, we’re working to unlock a major opportunity to turn waste into value. With the earth’s raw materials being rapidly depleted, many industries are demanding cost-effective, sustainable alternatives. Through waste valorization, our product pipeline will capture rare earth elements and other valuable metals from waste ore that is currently a balance sheet liability.

This is crucial to the world’s transition to clean energy alternatives. Technology like electric vehicles and batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, and wind turbines all rely on rare earth metals that our products will help recover. Our solutions can help mining companies solve environmental problems while actually creating value for the business.  

We’re also working with a large mining company on a technology to remove impurities from their iron ore before it goes to a smelter. Not only will this effectively reduce their emissions from steelmaking, it will also leave the company with higher-grade iron ore— a solution that’s sustainable for both the business and the environment.

Plastic Degradation

The large-scale growth of plastics use is outstripping the development of adequate facilities and solutions to treat plastic waste and by-products. This is why so much unsustainable plastic ends up in landfills, oceans and waterways.

One stark example is polyurethane foam mattresses, which have surged in popularity due to the convenience of foldable, shippable mattress options. Disposing of these mattresses comes with enormous environmental consequences. By some estimates, each year we discard enough mattresses to circle the earth.

Polyurethane and other plastics like nylon will naturally biodegrade, but it takes decades for this process to take place. By accelerating this natural process and upcycling these materials, we can transform waste into a value stream.

At Allonnia, we are working to create products for the plastics industry that will upcycle polyurethane and nylon, as well as enabling a circular economy by degrading polymers into raw materials for new production. We have promising strains in the lab that have the ability to upcycle products, returning mountains of discarded polyurethane mattresses and nylon rope into reusable ingredients.

Working Toward a World Without Waste

Nature is the ultimate innovator, and we believe the solutions to our man-made environmental challenges exist in nature.Through our follow-on funding round, we’re scaling our efforts to target a wide range of challenges. Our ultimate goal is to accelerate and scale biological solutions to create a world without waste, powered by biology. By optimizing nature’s own inventiveness, we can prove that industrial innovation and environmental responsibility are not mutually exclusive.