What happens when the love of the outdoors and synthetic biology come together?

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From high tech biology labs to small ski design workshops big things are happening in the outdoor recreation apparel world.

Checkerspot, based in Berkeley, California, is a biotech startup company who just announced a partnership with Gore (creator of Gore-Tex) to design high-performance material for outdoor recreation products. But, the approach they’re taking is very different than most.

After raising $13 million, Checkerspot started the process of utilizing microalgae, a naturally occurring producer of oil to produce different materials. This is done through a process of fermentation using sugar and algae to create chemicals which the material is made out of.

After discovering Checkerspot’s project the partnership with Gore became a reality. However, Gore is no stranger to innovative products; in 1976 they began producing Gore-Tex which was the world’s first breathable, waterproof, windproof fabric. In this material they discovered ePTFE which is 70% air and is perfect for water and weather resistant materials. The goal of this partnership is to create high-performance material coatings that are environmentally friendly.

What is synthetic biology?

In laymen’s terms, synthetic biology redesigns the biological components of a material to something that doesn’t already exist in nature. This is a booming industry which is now changing the way food, clothing, and beauty products are manufactured. Companies are now using this field of science to create better products that are also better for the environment since they are able to create more of what the algae already produces: oil.

The future of manufacturing and biology.

Checkerspot’s partnership with Gore is just one example of how manufacturing can be sustainable when using the right products. In 2019, DuPont opened the world’s largest probiotics fermentation unit at Eastman Business Park which helps produce probiotics for the dietary supplement and food and beverage industries. We here at Eastman Business Park are seeing the writing on the walls and are excited to see this unique industry continue to expand.

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To learn more about Gore-Tex

Posted in: Business Tips & Advice, Eastman Business Park, Material Science
Tagged: Bio-Materials Manufacturing