Feb 4: First Friday: Robert A. Curtis, Petrel Biosensors, Inc.

Water Quality Monitoring-New Technologies and Opportunities

“Tiny protozoa may be the key to world water safety”

Bob Curtis is the CEO of Petrel Biosensors, Inc. a new start-up company based on technology from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution that uses tiny protozoa to assess water quality. Petrel has licensed the technology for further development and commercialization to be used for real-time water quality and safety monitoring.

The groundbreaking technique, developed by WHOI scientist Scott Gallager, works by introducing protozoa into small chambers with water samples taken from municipal, industrial, or military water sources and comparing them to control samples. Any alteration of the protozoa’s swimming mechanics is a sign that water conditions have changed and chemical or biological contaminants–pesticides, industrial chemicals, or biological warfare agents–may be present

“Other, existing water tests with this spectrum of activity take from 24 to 72 hours to generate results and can cost anywhere from $50 to $250 per test,” according to Curtis. “We estimate that this new technique will perform real-time biological testing and provide nearly instant feedback for just $1 or $2 per test.”

Commercial applications for the technology include monitoring of industrial wastewater discharge, security and quality of drinking water supplies, and the potential testing of water sources associated with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the oil and gas industry

Curtis says Petrel is developing a range of fully automated sensing instruments that include desktop, portable, and hand-held units. The company is finalizing a business plan and intends to raise $2 million in investment funding to develop initial SBS systems for commercial launch.

Curtis also serves as the CEO of the Regional Technology Development Corporation in Woods Hole. He has a long history of entrepreneurial activities in the life sciences and more recently in the cleantech space. Bob serves on the Board of Directors or as an advisor of a number of start-up companies including Environmental Operating Solutions, Inc. of Bourne MA, a company commercializing products in the wastewater market.

First Friday, February 4, 2011 7:30 – 9:00 AM

Hyannis Golf Club, Route 132 off of Route 6, exit 6, Hyannis, MA

Cost: $25 per CCTC member; $35 per non-member

RSVP by Wednesday, February 2: by credit card below using Google checkout; email info@nullcctechcouncil.org to pay by check or cash at the door