What is YarroWCO?

YarroWCO is a project that blends utility, environmental consciousness, and industry. Instead of discarding oil after making a batch of fries for friends and family, we endeavor instead to sustainably transform waste into wonders.

With the help of a yeast called Yarrowia lipolytica, we use waste cooking oil (WCO) as a starting point to produce steroid precursors – compounds used by the pharmaceutical industry to produce vital medicines.
The Problem
The problem we're trying tackle can actually be dissected into two:

Problem 1: Oil

What happens when waste oil seeps into bodies of



Accumulation of waste oil in sewers leads to FATBERGS the removal of which comes at a very high cost.
Waste oil can seriously harm
ORGANISMS and eventually disrupt entire ECOSYSTEMS.
Toxic, fat-soluble compounds that can accumulate in waste oil, can contaminate the
CROPSwe consume.

Problem 2: Steroids

How are steroid



Producing drugs like corticosteroids from scratch requires very COMPLEX and EXPENSIVE chemistry.
PRECURSORSare instead used by the pharmaceutical industry to make these drugs. But...
...these need to be extracted from PLANTS (reducing arable land) or dead ANIMALS (increasing safety concerns).
Our Solution

YarroWCO has taken both problems and combined them into a single solution.

We propose to harness the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica to go beyond decontamination. By increasing its access to WCO through the production of bioemulsifiers, we have designed a system capable of efficiently transforming dangerous waste into life-saving medicine.

There's more though. Our passionate efforts at improving the world around us didn't stop at the technical aspects. Throughout our project, we involved our community, inspired people, and reached out to tens of thousands of people. Click on one of the buttons below to see how exactly we accomplished all of this!