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Cost-effective, portable and automated platform for microplastics characterization

Award Information
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Branch: N/A
Contract: 68HERC21C0043
Agency Tracking Number: B20P2-1A01
Amount: $400,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 20-OSAPE-P2
Solicitation Number: 68HERC20R0162
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-04-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-03-31
Small Business Information
11040 Santa Monica Boulevard., Suite 220
Los Angeles, CA 90025-7522
United States
DUNS: 080369315
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Maxim Batalin
 Chief Executive Officer
 (858) 405-8319
Business Contact
 Maxim Batalin
Title: Chief Exective Officer
Phone: (858) 405-8319
Research Institution

Annually over 8 million tons of plastic flows into the ocean causing an estimated $13 Billion damage to marine ecosystems. Microplastic particles (MP) are those with diameters <5mm and constitute the largest class of plastic pollution in the open ocean with recent estimates accounting for as much a s90% of all plastic litter. MP are even found in up to 94% of tap water in the United States. Due to their small size, it is especially difficult to accurately sample, quantify and characterize MP.Lucendi is developing Aqusens-MP -a cost-effective, portable and automated platform for MP identification and characterization. Our platform is based on lens-free computation microscopy with machine learning. It enables monitoring water samples with high-throughput (100ml-1L/hour), while maintaining a wide dynamic range of 4um - 1mm. In contrast, existing solutions to MP identification and characterization are mostly laboratory based and involve laborious, time-consuming processes, expensive equipment and expertise to operate.During Phase I we have tested an initial prototype and verified its capabilities to a) identify MP in flow and distinguish them from other microobjects, b) characterize identified MP by color, shape, size, morphology and phase properties. We have also demonstrated feasibility of our techniques to perform MP compostion estimation by applying phase metrics and lens-free polarization imaging via an additional mode we will be adding in Phase II. These results pave the way for productization and evaluation of Aqusens-MP in Phase II to validate its depolyment capabilities. We envision Aqusens-MP application as a cost-effective and high-throughput screening instrument that can be used to perform bulk MP measurement and statistics prior to othercharacterization methods.An initial focus for our technology will be in water quality sensor market (an estimated $5 billion market), with an early emphasis on MP and particulate monitoring at water treatment facilities (an estimated $660 million market in US and EU). Furthermore, secondary markets are currently explored for other versions of the platform, including aquaculture ($242 billion market) and algae-based bioproducts ($5 billion market). Our initial market research and customer discovery process suggests that the first adopters of our technology will likely be from the research and scientific community, with follow on models of the product designed and mass-produced for professional users.The proposed platform will also have far-reachning environmental benefits by enabling potable cost-effective analysis of water samples for MP, toxic algae and other microorganisms, as well as general particulates analysis.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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