News

Tandon-bred company sustains success and the environment

Sunthetics wins a $20,000 Stage 2 grant from VentureWell

Sunthetics Team

The Sunthetics team: Professor Miguel Modestino and co-founders Myriam Sbeiti and Daniela Blanco

Miguel Modestino of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering has proposed a method that eliminates oil from the energy-intensive process of making nylon. Instead of unsustainable fossil fuels — water, plant waste, and solar energy are used to deliver a material identical to the nylon widely used in the fashion industry. The groundbreaking process also represents a new scheme for carbon capture, in which greenhouse gases would be bound into the fabric, rather than released into the air, potentially making a major contribution toward a zero-emissions world.

Doctoral student Daniela Blanco and recent alum Myriam Sbeiti are shepherding that discovery from the lab to the real world by launching the cleverly named company Sunthetics. The pair envisions the process being of interest to not just the fashion industry but to anyone in the broader chemical-manufacturing world seeking greener production methods.

The research portion of their work lies at the intersection of multifunctional material development and electrochemical engineering (since electrochemical devices are ubiquitous in a broad range of energy conversion technologies and chemical processes). But in order to bring the technology to market, where it can make a real societal impact, they’re relying on business skills developed at NYU Tandon. They’ve taken part in several entrepreneurial competitions, and over the last few months they took home the $100,000 Technology Venture Prize in the NYU Stern Entrepreneurs Challenge and the top prize of $20,000 in the hotly contested InnoVention Competition at Tandon.

Now, their latest victory comes on a national stage, as part of the summer 2018 VentureWell E-Team Grant Program. VentureWell’s mission is to cultivate a pipeline of inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs driven to solve the world’s biggest challenges and to create lasting impact, and the organization chose Sunthetics to receive a $20,000 Stage 2 grant and admission to a selective three-day workshop in Boston, where they will work to further develop and validate their business model.