Dr. Carol Lynn George, founder of 32ATPs, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help her raise money for her research around producing a radically more eco-friendly battery. She’s running her campaign on Experiment.com.
Recently, I caught up with Carol to ask a few questions: here is our interview:
What is the social benefit you hope to achieve with or through your crowdfunding campaign?
The United States is the world leader in producing electronic waste. It is imperative and incumbent on us as a society to reduce our waste from the production of consumer electronics. All electronic scrap components, including batteries, can contain environmental contaminants such as lead, cadmium, beryllium, or brominated flame retardants. Electrical waste not only contains hazardous, but also valuable and scarce materials. Up to 60 different elements can be found in complex electronics. An estimated 50 million tons of E-waste are produced each year. For example, the USA discards 30 million computers and Europe, 100 million phones each year. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 15-20% of e-waste is recycled, the rest of these electronics go directly into landfills and incinerators. According to a report by UNEP titled, “Recycling – from E-Waste to Resources,” the amount of e-waste being produced – including mobile phones and computers – could rise by as much as 500 percent over the next decade in some countries, such as India. The United States is the world leader in producing electronic waste, tossing away about 3 million tons each year. China already produces about 2.3 million tons (2010 estimate) domestically, second only to the United States. There is no question that the development of greener energy production and storage devices is a must for the 21st century.
How much money are you hoping to raise and why? How much have you raised so far?
I formed 32ATPs in part to be able to partner with academic faculty to drive phase “1-3” research. In the fall, my partner, Dr. Shelley Minteer and I will finally realize our dream of applying for our first SBIR grant together!! Dr. Minteer is an expert in her field and has previously successfully brought several technical innovations to market.
In order to start working right away on our project, the development of “Biological Supercapacitors,” we have decided to take advantage of an event occurring on this Monday with the crowdfunding platform called “Experiment”. You may have heard of Experiment, formerly Microryza, the crowdfunding site for BASIC research. The event this Monday will celebrate the “millionth” dollar raised using this platform and will be attended by many philanthropists and patrons of scientific research. That is a HUGE win for science everywhere!!!
We are looking to raise $5,000 total- roughly half of that will cover our lab rental space at Utah’s very own “BioInnovation Gateway” and half will cover the reagents to get us started using the shared capital equipment in that space until our SBIR (a federal small business innovation grant that will drive the majority of the research) grant is awarded, or about 3 months. And yes, we will be mentoring Utah’s brightest young high school student, fulfilling the education mission of BiG.
We are only asking for very small donations from each of our supporters- essentially to PROVE to the financial backers that will be participating in Monday’s event that our community believes that Dr. Minteer and I are the right team to bring this innovation to market.
Whom are you trying to help with your project and why?
We hope that this work will benefit society as a whole on a larger scale, it is to fund a basic research project. Our initial sites are set on the consumer electronic products market, but this work, in theory, could be extended to any items that use a power supply, such as electric cars or medical devices.