About Us

The ecoSPEARS Story

Company Profile Video

ecoSPEARS is the leading global solutions provider of green remediation technologies to permanently extract and destroy PCBs, dioxins and other toxins from contaminated soil, sediment and groundwater. ecoSPEARS is made up of a team of passionate “ecoHACKERS” that are challenging the environmental industry to “THINK BETTER.” ecoSPEARS is committed to utilizing science, engineering, and technology to create sustainable solutions that deliver lasting social, economic, and humanitarian impact.

Company History

The Big Bang

In 2008, Sergie Albino was contracted to consult as a Mechanical and Thermal Engineer for NASA-Kennedy Space Center. During this time, Albino begins his MBA program at the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business in Winter Park, FL where he meets the school’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Dr. Peter McAlindon. While at NASA-KSC, Albino aids in the design and build of flight hardware payloads for NASA’s LAVA (RESOLVE) Lunar project, Space Shuttle Program (SSP), and International Space Station (ISS), and dozens of other projects involving Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Ultra-Violet Lighted Sorbent Beds, and monitoring DNA degradation during manned space missions.

 

The Stars Align

While working with the NASA-KSC team on developing payload hardware for the RESOLVE Lunar project, Albino is introduced to award-winning NASA Environmental Scientist Dr. Jacqueline Quinn at Kennedy Space Center. Dr. Quinn’s patented inventions include Emulsified Zero Valent Iron (EZVI), a method of groundwater remediation which is NASA’s “most licensed and recognized technology.” Albino is also introduced to Dr. Quinn’s colleague, Dr. Phil Maloney – a Ph.D. Analytical and Environmental Chemist at NASA-KSC who is also a co-inventor of the technologies along with Dr. Quinn and Dr. Robert Devor.

A Brilliant Discovery 

In 2012, during her lunch onsite at NASA-KSC, Dr. Quinn sees a news broadcast about marine pollution centered on plastics and increasing levels of microplastics being found in marine life. Dr. Quinn, knowing that chlorinated compounds tend to be hydrophobic and latch onto organic matter, is struck with inspiration for a new invention. She grabs a handful of plastic straws from the cafeteria and places them into PCB-contaminated sediments to track the efficacy of the straws’ polyethylene plastic matrix with absorbing PCBs. Together with Dr. Maloney and Dr. Devor, the pair later pitch their invention – which would later become known as the Sorbent Polymer Extraction And Remediation System (SPEARS) – to NASA technology officials with remarks that the technology could be used to address PCB-contaminated sediments at NASA sites throughout the United States.

NASA Pilot Demostrations

Between 2012-2014, several iterations of SPEARS are tested in controlled laboratory settings showing non-discriminatory success in absorbing PCBs from impacted sediments. Following this success, Drs. Quinn and Maloney are awarded grant funding to test several onsite field deployments of SPEARS as in Virginia with the help of independent contractors, as well as another field deployment with the US Navy at a site in San Francisco, CA. Initial results from these studies showed approximately 75-90% extraction of PCBs from impacted sediments within 6-8 months.

NASA Intellectual Property 

In 2015, following the onsite successes of SPEARS and its ability to extract PCBs from sediments, Drs. Quinn and Maloney patent the SPEARS technology with NASA, entering it into the Agency’s technology portfolio. Later this same year, Albino brings news of the technology to Dr. McAlindon at Crummer as a potential project for the school’s Entrepreneurial Scholar of Distinction program. The program, which was founded between Crummer and NASA-KSC, selects a team of 5-8 MBA students each fall semester to generate a commercial business model for one of NASA’s patented technologies. In 2016, Albino and Dr. McAlindon work with a team of seven Crummer MBA students to develop a commercialization plan for the SPEARS technology. The students pitch their business model to Dr. Quinn as well as officials from NASA-KSC’s Office of Technology Transfer in December 2016.

NASA Grants Exclusive License

Following the successful pitch of ecoSPEARS to NASA, ecoSPEARS is granted an Exclusive License to the SPEARS technology through NASA-KSC’s Office of Technology Transfer and begins work to officially found the company in Spring of 2017. Albino reaches back out to the student team who created the ecoSPEARS business model to gauge interest in pursuing the venture. Crummer MBA student Sam Johnson agrees to join with Albino. That April, Albino partners with Orlando-based entrepreneur R. Ian Doromal to raise capital and officially launch ecoSPEARS. Doromal joins on as Albino’s co-founder to lead Sales and Marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Venture Backed Cleantech Startup

Shortly after Doromal’s joining ecoSPEARS, Albino is introduced to Terrance Berland – Managing Partner for Kirenaga Partners, a unique early-stage venture capital firm founded on the simple belief that creating the highest value for all stakeholders comes from the building of great businesses that can make a lasting impact to society. Berland, seeing great potential in ecoSPEARS to address a large and unmet problem – worldwide, agrees to bring ecoSPEARS into his firm’s portfolio and backs Albino and Doromal, funding the company’s Seed Round of $2 million. The two begin the process of securing their first initial key hires, which include Dr. Maloney as Principal Scientist, former NASA analytical chemist and co-inventor of ecoSPEARS’ technologies, Sam Johnson as Business Analyst, and John Omana – a career-long Land Development and Entitlements Planner with over $650 million of land use permitting for the city of Lake Mary, Florida – as VP of Government Affairs

Obtaining Traction with Names that Matter

Between 2018-2019, ecoSPEARS secures over a dozen client contracts to validate the efficacy of the SPEARS technology across a number of US sites with PCB-impacted sediments. In 2019, ecoSPEARS is awarded a $200,000 Pilot Demonstration with the award-winning Port of San Diego and its Blue Economy Incubator program to remediate PCBs from sediments in San Diego Bay. ecoSPEARS is accepted in the Cleantech Open, the world’s largest cleantech accelerator, and places 1st place in the Cleantech Open Southeast Regional pitch contest. Shortly thereafter, ecoSPEARS is accepted into the first-ever cohort of Black & Veatch’s IgniteX Cleantech Accelerator, 1 of 7 companies selected from over 140 applicants. Black & Veatch then partners with ecoSPEARS to become the startup’s design-build partner to assist in the scaling of the company’s green remediation technologies in order to accelerate full-scale onsite field deployments.

Making of a Green Giant

ecoSPEARS imagines a world where every human being has access to clean water, clean food, and clean air. ecoSPEARS will accomplish their mission by developing green and sustainable technologies that are protective of wildlife and people. ecoSPEARS has partnered with the United Nations and the PCB Elimination Network to help achieve the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals to ensure clean water and healthy soil for all – by eliminating PCBs, globally, by 2028. ecoSPEARS’ core focus is to become the global leader of environmentally-friendly and cost-effective remediation technologies for PCBs, dioxins, and other Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

Code of Honor