Purdue Research Park-based renewable chemicals startup receives $50,000 grant from Elevate Ventures

November 24, 2014  

Spero grant

Trenton Parsell, senior scientist at Spero Energy Inc., examines some of the products created by the company's technology in a Purdue University laboratory. Spero Energy received $50,000 from Elevate Ventures to match funds it received in a SBIR Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation. (Purdue Research Foundation photo)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Spero Energy Inc., whose technology could make biofuel production more efficient and creates high-value, renewable chemicals used in the flavor and fragrance industry, has been awarded a $50,000 grant.

The company, based in Purdue Research Park, received the funds from Elevate Ventures, a partner of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. The funds were awarded as part of a matching program. The company had received a $150,000 Phase I SBIR grant from the National Science Foundation.

Basudeb Saha, chief technology officer, said the grant will help the company scale up its technology.

"Our patent-pending process converts the lignin in wood biomass, which is known to inhibit biofuel production, into two products," he said. "The first is lignin-free cellulose that is ready for biofuel production. The other is dihydroeugenol, which is an aroma flavor and fragrance chemical."

Saha credited Elevate Ventures for encouraging and nurturing emerging and existing businesses in Indiana like Spero Energy.

"Elevate Ventures recognizes that startup and early-stage companies grow local and state economies," he said. "Strengthening these companies also can lead to retaining talented employees and attracting more to Indiana."

Spero Energy's technology is based on the work of Mahdi Abu-Omar, the company's president and the Purdue R.B. Wetherill Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. The company has secured an exclusive license of the technology through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization. A video about the company and its technology is available at http://youtu.be/90u01yi7pMk.

About Spero Energy Inc.

Spero Energy Inc. is an Indiana-based technology company with the mission of developing cost-competitive conversion of non-food biomass feedstock to high-value chemicals (HVCs) and renewable fuels. Spero Energy is developing processes for a range of renewable specialty chemicals targeting flavor and fragrance ingredients, high-performance materials and pharmaceutical markets. For more information, visit http://www.speroenergy.com.

About Purdue Research Park

The Purdue Research Park is the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. The Purdue Research Park manages the Purdue Technology Centers in four sites in Indiana located in West Lafayette, Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany. The more than 260 companies located in the park network employ about 4,500 people who earn an average annual wage of $63,000. The park is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year from the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org.

Purdue Research Park contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org  

Source: Basudeb Saha, 765-237-7649, bsaha@speroenergy.com 

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