It’s safe to say that a lot of folks did not predict that masks would be an everyday part of their lives. Furthermore, the length of this pandemic has come as a surprise to many, and the number of masks that have been used, made, donated, and disposed of is more than our planet has ever seen. Masks are now necessary to function in our everyday society, and with that consumer shift comes great environmental repercussions. With a unique lens and devoted team of scientists, BIOSA Technologies has found an ingenious way to mitigate our mask waste and address the supply chain issues that have arisen during the Covid-19 pandemic, and they’re doing it all here in London.
BIOSA is a biotechnology research and development company founded in 2018. Engaged in various industries such as agriculture and health care, they have been tirelessly working on applications that focus on eco-friendly solutions for existing processes and technology. BIOSA doesn’t fixate on reinventing the wheel, but instead on enhancing existing applications that are necessary to everyday life and ensuring that they are created sustainably and with the earth in mind. With a recent investment from the Ontario Together Fund, BIOSA is currently renovating a facility that will allow for full scale operations by mid-October, including research and development of multiple projects, and the capacity for making and distributing their newest (and life-saving) biotechnology: a near impenetrable mask filtration material.
The process of creating this material is fascinating and unique, with a hyper-focus on waste management and a clever use of an unpredictable waste – grape pomace. The ingenuity of this material is astounding, recycling an already-used material into a purposeful and prolific display of made-in-Ontario creations. With Ontario’s fruitful wine and vineyard industries, the waste produced from processing grapes (grape pomace) is disposed of and never utilized again. This waste is full of existing antioxidants, making it antibacterial and therefore incredibly difficult to decompose as it fights off bacteria and pulls oxygen from surrounding soil and water. This causes a chain reaction in our ecosystem, where animals, plants, or anything near large waste sites of grape pomace cannot sustain themselves, causing detrimental negative effects on the surrounding environment. As we have all come to realize during the past 19 months of the Covid-19 pandemic, antibacterial materials are vital and should be used for their benefit, not detriment. The potential for a cyclical use of waste that reduces negative environmental impact in a multitude of ways was the catalyst for the creation of BIOSA’s filtration material that is antibacterial, reusable, and compostable.
“Making the best use of these potent materials within waste, we take something that is damaging to the environment and actively remove the antioxidants from the waste materials” says Lori Steuart, Head of Marketing at BIOSA, “Suddenly, we are disposing of that waste in a way that is no longer harmful and has been utilized to its fullest potential to be helpful”. With this eco-driven process, BIOSA has been able to create mask filtration material that is 99.99% antibacterial, qualifying it for use in N95 masks. This is the first filtration material of its kind to be made in Canada, mitigating the supply chain crisis that we have recently faced. Using mechanical filtration, this material’s pore size (0.1 of a micron) keeps aerosolized viruses, such as Covid-19, from penetrating the material, and the use of antibacterial grape pomace kills bacteria upon contact. This new material acts as a beacon of hope for our healthcare workers and our planet as we reflect on the effects that this pandemic has had on the supply chain and how our integral healthcare workers have had to reuse masks that are intended for single use, weakening their protection.
Working with a major partner to make these masks available to the Canadian public in the near future, BIOSA is in the process of completing the build of their facility to start full production soon. “The Ontario Together Funding has allowed us to get to this point of developing our research capabilities and procuring equipment, and we will use that to springboard to the next level, doubling our growth and hiring more people for both technical business development roles” says Steuart. With hiring in the forefront of their future endeavors, BIOSA is on track to be elemental for the Canadian filtration material supply chain. Active continuation of environmental consciousness alongside these inspiring scientific developments will eventually allow for a world where consumerism and business can live symbiotically with the preservation of our planet.
BIOSA Technologies provides research and development projects, advanced manufacturing, and testing services for industry leaders to enhance their products and processes. To learn more about their services, industries, and areas of research, go to www.biosatech.com.