Dr. Gaurab Chakrabarti is a physician-scientist who studied computational neuroscience as an undergraduate at Brown University and earned his MD and Ph.D. in cancer biology and enzymology at the University of Texas. In his current role, he is applying his insight from enzyme engineering with the goal of decarbonizing the oil and gas industry.
Leadership: Chakrabarti was studying cancer cells when he fortuitously discovered a unique class of enzymes that makes hydrogen peroxide from sugar sources. When he joined forces with Dr. Sean Hunt, CTO and co-founder of Solugen Inc., who earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at MIT, they developed a new biological hydrogen peroxide, from which they created ScavSol.
Chakrabarti and Hunt shared a vision and a goal, to develop a safe, effective and sustainable product that could disrupt the chemicals market. When their patented enzyme – a cleaner, safer and cheaper alternative to traditional fuel-based hydrogen peroxide water treatment – won $10,000 at an MIT business competition, their dream became a full-time commitment. They invested the prize money to lease warehouse space in Dallas, buying PVC pipe from Home Depot and pumps from eBay to build a reactor system. Shortly thereafter, a successful first product for spas led to an initial round of funding from Silicon Valley investors and the subsequent development of ScavSol.
Co-produced with bioperoxide, ScavSol addresses the oil and gas industry’s need for a robust and affordable iron control solution. Commercialized by Solugen, Inc., the product is specifically designed to chelate iron and remediate iron sulfide over a wide pH band, bonding with iron to produce water-soluble and non-reactive molecules. ScavSol is non-flammable and formaldehyde-free, which reduces health risks for workers. And because it is plant-based, it is environmentally friendly and biodegradable, which helps reduce the carbon footprint of unconventional operations.
Already, the product has helped one Permian Basin operator save more than $200,000 in a single year.
Accomplishments: Solugen has become a magnet for talented people who share the founders’ vision, including the company’s new Head of Enzymology Toni Lee, who most recently served as Principal Scientist at Provivi, Inc. and was a member of the team that won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2018.
Success continues to breed success. The company has secured three U.S. patents stemming from bioperoxide, and 15 more patent filings are in development, including one for micromanufacturing platforms that will further reduce costs by allowing ScavSol and other bioperoxide products to be produced onsite for oil and gas projects.
These innovative products are not only improving return on investment for operators, they are fighting climate change by helping the industry reduce its carbon footprint.
Insight: “Social responsibility is at the heart of our technology. New complexities continue to arise from market conditions that are pushing operators to consolidate their assets to improve operational efficiency. Our goal is to tackle these challenges by developing innovative ways to capture efficiencies and reduce costs with environmentally responsible solutions.”