Apr 27, 2023 - Climate

Cleveland biotech firm is helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Locus Fermentation Solutions' founder and CEO Andy Lefkowitz (L) and a scientist in the Locus labs (R). Photos: Provided by Locus Fermentation Solutions

Locus Fermentation Solutions is a cutting-edge biotech company in Northeast Ohio you've probably never heard of.

  • The firm manufactures biological organisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Since its founding in 2013, it has raised a staggering $250 million on the strength of its 1,300 patents.

Why it matters: Locus employs close to 100 scientists, engineers, administrators and executives at its headquarters in Solon.

  • Recent investment facilitated its expansion from 50,000 to 150,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space, with plans for additional growth to satisfy demand.

The big picture: Industries around the world are striving to lower their carbon footprints as climate change accelerates and governments set emissions targets.

Flashback: As part of a sweeping climate change agenda, President Joe Biden last year signed an executive order to advance domestic biomanufacturing.

What they're saying: "It really brought to light this idea of biologicals replacing chemicals and the fact that there aren't enough producers globally," Teresa DeJohn, Locus' director of marketing and public relations, tells Axios.

  • "We're already doing that successfully with a patented approach right here in Cleveland.

How it works: Locus uses fatty acid, sugar and yeast to ferment bespoke organisms that can replace or reduce chemicals across multiple industries.

  • "Cosmetics, paints and coatings, textiles. Wherever petroleum-based [chemicals] are used, we have a biological that we believe is as good or better," CEO and founder Andy Lefkowitz tells Axios. "And it's certainly greener."

For example: Locus makes a biochemical that allows copper to be mined without having to grind rock down to fine grain — increasing the mineral yield while decreasing the energy required to extract it.

The bottom line: "We're going to large companies and saying, 'We can help you replace forever chemicals and help you make more money by reducing your costs,'" Lefkowitz says.

  • "And by the way, we will help you achieve your carbon neutrality goals more quickly than you ever thought possible."
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