Ann Arbor’s Ecovia Renewables Wins International Chemistry Challenge


Ann Arbor-based chemistry company Ecovia Renewables was announced as one of three winners to receive joint development agreements at AzkoNobel’s Imagine Chemistry international startup challenge in Amsterdam last month.

Ecovia’s winning multi-function polyglutamic acid (PGA), BioGel, is a scalable PGA technology that uses fermentation and purification to reduce production costs of the typically expensive, yet valuable acid.

BioGel serves a multitude of purposes in agriculture; its adhesive water absorption properties bolster soil moisture retention, reduce irrigation requirements, and due to its biodegradable status, the pioneering PGA will not accumulate in soil. Additionally, the substance can be used as a tackifier for revegetation and erosion control.

Ecovia was one of 20 start-ups to travel to Amsterdam to partake in a two-day workshop with over 90 experts from AkzoNobel and other research and development partners.

Company officials say the new material can also be used in a variety of personal care products, including diapers, skin moisturizer, and shampoo.

All three of the competition’s winners were based in the United States.