gross-wen-1Tue, Nov 22, 2016


AMES, Iowa (November 22, 2016) – The Iowa State University StartUp Factory today announced the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board awarded Gross-Wen Technologies, LLC (GWT) a $25,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) award for hiring key personnel, product refinement and IP development and evaluation. GWT is a cohort member in the ISU StartUp Factory, housed at the Iowa State University Research Park.

According to a release from the IEDA, the POCR fund is designed to assist businesses with a demonstrated proof-of-concept for innovative technology who are ready for the rigors of the proof of commercial relevance stage. Use of the funds includes defining the market for the product and perfecting the product to meet market needs. The $25,000 award was the maximum provided for this program.

GWT, founded in 2013, is commercializing an algal wastewater treatment technology developed at Iowa State.  The technology, called the Revolving Algal Biofilm Treatment System (RAB), removes nitrogen, phosphorus and other pollutants from municipal wastewaters.

Dr. Martin Gross, GWT co-founder & CEO said the reduction of these pollutants is vital to addressing the issue of dead zones — hypoxic areas in the world’s large bodies of water caused by excessive nutrient pollution that depletes the oxygen level needed to sustain marine life.

According to Gross, municipalities are looking for a new approach to address the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution issue.

“Municipalities are under new, more stringent regulations with state agencies mandating they reach even lower levels of nitrogen and phosphorus being discharged into wastewater,” Gross said. “Our RAB system enables municipalities to achieve clean water levels, removing wastewater pollutants far more effectively and cost-efficiently than conventional algal treatment systems.”

In addition to clean water levels, the company has derived additional side-benefits to their innovative, eco-friendly technology.

“Another benefit of our RAB system is that it allows us to harvest the algae biomass that is recovered to make a slow-release algal fertilizer for crops,” Gross said. “The algae biomass has the potential for making biofuels and bioplastics as well. Our technology is the most cost-effective, sustainable, carbon-negative technology for pollutants removal on the market.”

Gross said the POCR award will help the company advance to the next stage of development with plans to hire key personnel to work towards designing their first commercial facility.

“We want to begin the design-phase, and will be working with two Iowa-based companies on engineering and design of our first commercial facility, which we hope to open in June 2017,” Gross said.

In total, the IEDA approved awards to six Iowa companies to support over $83 million in capital investments. The board also approved innovation funding to support nine startups.


About ISU StartUp Factory:

The Iowa State University (ISU) StartUp Factory is a 52-week intensive program housed at the ISU Research Park (ISURP). Entrepreneurs in the StartUp Factory receive formal training, resources, and access to a network of business mentors, advisors, counselors, and investors in two 26-week blocks: the first a formal curriculum centered on business validation, and the second, customized to their individual business needs. For more information on the ISU StartUp Factory program, call 515-294-7444 or visit


About Gross-Wen Technologies, LLC:

GWT is commercializing an algal based wastewater treatment process that recovers nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater.  The algae biomass that is produced can then be used as a slow-release algal fertilizer.  GWT’s patent pending process is not only sustainable but also carbon negative. For more information on GWT, visit


Contact:   Julie Lelonek

Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations