Font: A A A
Background: White Black
Ilustration: Show Hide

Klaipėda University’s Biotech: EU Patent for Oil Spill Solution

Klaipėda University’s Biotech: EU Patent for Oil Spill Solution

The biotechnology developed by Dr. Marija Kataržytė and Dr. Tatjana Paulauskienė to counteract oil spills at sea has been granted a European Union (EU) patent by the “European Patent Office.”

The invention, born in the laboratories of Klaipėda University by combining the knowledge of technological science and biology, has been successfully tested and has shown great potential for practical application. It was officially registered in the EU’s unitary patent system at the end of last year, ensuring that the invention is protected for 20 years in 17 EU countries. According to Dr. Tatjana Paulauskienė, one of the creators of this innovation, this is an important milestone in preparing biotechnology for the market – intellectual property protection gives a scientific idea a distinctive character, making it easier to attract investment and gain an edge in the market.

In Lithuania, this biotechnology was patented in 2020. The KU spin-off company Inobiostar, established to develop this biotechnology, is continuing its research with KU scientists to adapt the invention to another material – aerogel. Until now, the researchers’ experiments have been carried out on straw, a cheap and natural agricultural product, by hydrophilizing it and spreading oil-degrading microorganisms on its surface. “In the current phase, we want to test the biotechnology with aerogels because of their high efficiency: 1 gram of this material can absorb up to 50 grams of oil products (5 times higher than the market analogs). Aerogels are also environmentally friendly and can be reused. The material is made from wastepaper,” says Dr. Tatjana Paulauskienė, CEO of Inobiostar.

The EU patent procedure took the biotech team more than three years to complete, with the application filed on 25 September 2020. “We are delighted that the collaboration combining technological and biological competencies has resulted in a patent, confirming that we are moving in the right and relevant direction. This is a boost for our further work in this field to develop technologies that contribute to a cleaner water environment around us,” said Dr. Marija Kataržytė, expressing satisfaction with the successful patenting of her invention in the EU.

The biotechnology team is preparing an application to one of the European Horizon programs to fund further research and experimentation. If successful, the plan is to set up a pilot small-scale aerogel plant (showroom) to produce more material for further testing, expressing satisfaction with the successful patenting of the invention in the EU.

Based on the press release by the University of Klaipėda