April Business in Calgary featuring FREDsense Technologies
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
���� ������� ���� �� ������� ������� � �� ������ ����������
group of young entrepreneurs from the University
of Calgary are developing a unique biosensor system
that provides real-time detection and identification
of toxins in water, primarily to be used in the oil and gas
industry to aid in water remediation.
Water is a key ingredient in oil and gas production, specifically
in the oilsands. Before recycling and reusing the
water, or releasing it back into the environment, oil and
gas producers must remediate these large volumes of water.
Current methods of testing water are either slow, labour
intensive or do not accurately report the relative toxicity.
FRED (which stands for Field Ready Electrochemical
Detector) harnesses the power of genetically modified environmental
bacteria to be able to quickly and accurately
detect petroleum-related toxins.
“FRED is a very unique sensor,” says David Lloyd, cofounder
and co-chief executive officer at FREDsense
Technologies, an early-stage startup company based out of
the University of Calgary. “Instead of using an actual physical
or chemical method to be able to detect what’s in your
water, we’re using a living bacteria organism that we’ve
modified to be able to go and sense all of these toxins.”
Lloyd is one of seven who currently make up the team
at FREDsense Technologies, a group of interdisciplinary
students with diverse technical backgrounds ranging from
genetics and biochemistry to microbiology and electrochemistry.
In addition to telling you what’s in the water, FRED can
also sense and report back multiple compounds at the same
time. The electrochemical component uses electricity to be
able to tell you what’s there. Compared to current methods,
FRED has the potential to be rapid, on-site and require little
to no sample prep, providing a distinct advantage to other
competing technologies currently available to oil and gas
This unique biosensor and startup company is the result
of participating in the International Genetically Engineered
Machine (iGEM) competition, a worldwide undergraduate
student competition where university school teams design
and build biological systems and operate them in living cells.
FREDsense Technologies, an early-stage startup company made up of young entrepreneurs from the
University of Calgary, are developing a unique biosensor designed to quickly and accurately detect
petroleum-related toxins in water. Photo courtesy: FREDsense Technologies
Winning several awards at iGEM 2012, the team decided to
take those ideas and begin building a company.
To date FREDsense Technologies has also received recognition
in several other competitions including winning the
inaugural Energy New Venture Competition, the 2014 Queen’s
Entrepreneurs’ Competition, best elevator pitch at the BMO
Financial Group Apex Business Plan Competition, and is a
finalist for the Nicol Entrepreneurial Award in Ottawa and
the William James Foundation sustainability competition in
“We have followed a really unique path for a startup
company,” says Lloyd. “We’ve always been working in the
academic space and now we’re transitioning into more of an
industrial setting, working in our own lab and developing
Currently, FREDsense Technologies has a lab-scale prototype,
is in the process of completing the patenting process,
and aims to have the technology ready to hit the market by
2016. To learn more about FRED and FREDsense Technologies,
visit www.fredsense.com or follow them on Twitter @
To learn more about Innovate Calgary and how it supports
new and emerging technology, visit www.innovatecalgary.com.
��� � ����� ���� BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com