SBIR Phase I: Manufacturing Nanomembranes for Water Applications- In Process Analysis

Period of Performance: 01/01/2016 - 06/30/2016

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Covalent
4616 W. Sahara Ave. Ste 562
Las Vegas, NV 89102
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project relates to the critical issue of the nation?s and the world?s water quality and quantity. Abundant, pure, low cost water is the basis of health and prosperity. The project will produce one-atomic-layer thick membranes capable of delivering high purity water for domestic use, industry and agriculture by purification, wastewater remediation and desalination at the lowest energy possible under physical law from any water source, no matter how contaminated. With water scarcity and contamination growing issues domestically and internationally, conventional technologies either cannot perform the necessary cleanup or can only do it at costs prohibitive to agriculture, industry and daily living. By delivering an ultra-low energy solution in a small package that replaces large plants, everything from large municipalities to small towns and rural agricultural areas can benefit from high volume, low cost, high purity water at affordable prices. The technology will first be deployed in California's Central Valley to create new sources of agriculture water. At large scale for environmental remediation, it can remedy problems such as the neurotoxins that shut down Toledo, Ohio?s water or eliminate the nitrates and phosphates that caused the problem. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project represents the cutting edge of nanotechnology design and manufacturing: complete precision at the atomic scale. This membrane is made by pharmaceutical-style organic chemistry to create the most precise material ever built. It incorporates an unprecedented constellation of biomimetic techniques: using Nature's methods to reach a new level of performance in the vitally important and technically challenging area of water purification and desalination. It also represents the long-sought goal of the community of membrane researchers: ultra-low energy filtration at "high specificity", i.e., the ability to separate out very small pollutants such as removing salt from seawater, arsenic or other contaminants from freshwater. The EPA describes the relationship between water and energy as the Water/Energy Nexus. The technology takes energy requirements to the lowest energy possible under the laws of physics by working with a single atomic layer membrane. Precise construction of the pores that form the membranes enables unprecedented control over filtration and selection. Precise control over surface chemistry allows unprecedented control over issues of fouling and scaling. Successful demonstration of this technically challenging high quality manufacturing will be a game changer opening a new era of single atomic layer membranes.