RiKarbon Upcycling Waste to Create Biolubes
RiKarbon, Inc. is a next-generation technology company that grew out of UD research. Researchers at RiKarbon are working to engineer bio-based sustainable oil substitutes for petroleum-based resources used in everything from cosmetics to lubricants for shipping, agriculture, and food processing.
Securing SBIR funding (phase I and phase II) allowed RiKarbon to grow and secure space at the Delaware Technology Park incubator located on UD’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research Campus (STAR) Campus, so the company could scale its research and business model, Saha said.
Researchers at Rikarbon are using their SBIR funding to develop a 100% bio-based EAL, known as BioLubes, from upcycled waste materials. The bio-based lubricant poses multiple advantages for hydropower asset owners and stakeholders alike. “Our lubricant can substantially improve the overall health of hydropower production sites, while indirectly lowering carbon emissions,” described Basudeb Saha, founder and president of Rikarbon.
During Phase II, Rikarbon is collaborating with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to develop BioLubes for hydropower applications. Rikarbon is also collaborating with a variety of hydropower turbine oil manufacturers and hydropower developers who currently produce and use mineral oil-based lubricants, working to ensure that hydropower facilities can seamlessly transition to BioLubes.
Thanks to SBIR funding, researchers at Rikarbon continue to make significant strides in their EAL research. “We were very fortunate to receive SBIR funding from DOE, which gave us the opportunity to explore this promising technology and bring BioLubes from paper to real life,” Saha added. Learn more about SBIR funding here.
RiKarbon & the SBDC
According to Basu Saha, RiKarbon’s founder, working with the SBDC team has been transformational.
Saha credited the SBDC with providing guidance on everything from business strategy to initial market research to advice on developing the company’s logo and initial website design. Additionally, Saha said support from Louis DiNetta, an SBDC technology business development manager, was pivotal in the early-stage startup’s successful application for federal funding.
“Lou’s assistance and advice on funding logistics, proposal strategy, proposal feedback and budgeting guidance in applying for funding from SBIR/STTR programs was critically important,” Saha said. “He was particularly knowledgeable about regulations related to government investment to small companies.” – Saha