Q: What was the reason for founding your organization – what was the open niche you saw that could be addressed with a new product or service? What was the problem, or gap, or opportunity?
Paper industry is a booming industry. Everybody thinks that online newspapers and e-books will decrease paper consumption. While the consumption of graphic papers such as newsprint is actually decreasing, the increase in packaging papers (due to a rise in online shopping) and hygienic papers (due to the increased wealth of developing nations) is compensating for this decrease easily.
Paper industry also has a problem, it pollutes the environment. Even the recycled paper industry is a big polluter if the waste is not disposed of safely. For example, to produce one ton of recycled paper, some paper mills produce 250 kg of cellulose based solid waste known as paper sludge. Episome can solve this particular issue. We invented a technology called EpiCellulyse XT to convert this paper sludge into green energy and organic fertilizer.
Q: Tell us about your organization. What do you do?
We started our work in September 2013 and then in 2014 we established our company called Episome Biotechnologies. While conducting our laboratory work with a small team, we have sought funding to commercialize our product. Then, they managed to get an investment of about 2 million USD from and investment fund. After the foundation of our company, we began to production of amylase and celullase enzymes locally by taking the KOSGEB R&D innovation support.
As a result of a project supported by TUBITAK, we have created an internationally patented technology that attracts attention in the world; Epicellulyse XT. In this process, we have successfully produced the protease enzyme from a project we have carried out with the support of TUBITAK. Then we succeeded in producing four important enzyme series (amylase, cellulase, protease and lipase) and we presented them to the demand of industry.
Q: What stage of development are you?
Pilot stage – proven at small, non-integrated scale
Q: What do your technologies, products or services do and accomplish – how does it (they) work, who is it (they) aimed for?
Epicellulyse XT enables use of the paper mill sludge in renewable energy and organic fertilizer production. Thanks to this patented technology, paper industry waste is converted to biogas and organic fertilizer for the first time in the world. Epicellulyse XT technology consists of an Epidigester and biogas plant, which is our own design. Paper waste that cannot be converted to biogas normally is ready to be converted into biogas after a biological pre-treatment in our own design Epidigester. Epicellulyse XT is used in pretreatment of paper mill sludge and making it ideal for biogas process. We make enzyme cocktail the cellulase enzyme with some microorganisms and pre-treat the paper sludge with our product Cellurise. This waste, which is not normally used by biogas bacteria as a nutrient, can be digested in biogas reactor by biogas bacteria, resulting in methane gas. We collect methane gas in a controlled manner, and we turn it into electricity by burning in power engines.
Q: Competitively, what gives your technology, product or service set an edge in cost
or performance, sustainability, or any other aspect, that makes it stand out from the crowd, In short, what makes it transformative?
At present, paper plants either use incineration facilities on-site or off-site, or landfilling. Nowadays, sustainability is hot topic in the world and all big companies should have sustainable waste management system. However, incineration and landfilling is not sustainable solution to dispose paper sludge. We offer the conversion of waste to biogas which is type of renewable energy by Epicellulyse XT.
Since Epicellulyse XT is novel and patented technology we think that we are one step ahead of from competitor companies.
- Green energy production
- CO2 (carbon dioxide)reduction
- Low carbon footprint, process overall energy positive
- Waste reduction
- Economically attractive
- Alternative for incineration or landfill
- Valorization of all products
Q: What are the 3 top milestones you have accomplished in the past 3 years?
- Founding a multi-functional and pioneering R&D Lab in Episome Biotech.
- Securing financing (Apprx. 2M USD Series A investment by a VC) for rapid growth.
- Successful installation and operation of pilot plant for Epicellulyse XT in the biggest paper plant in Turkey.
Q: What are the 3 top milestones you will accomplish in the next 3 years?
1.Rapid growth in Europe, accomplishing min 10 contracts in Europe.
- Overseas expansion, specially North America market.
- Releasing Epicellulyse XT 2.0, which makes ready to use raw material from all kind of lignocellulosic biomass for biogas plants.
- Where can I learn more about Episome Biotechnologies?