SBIR Phase I: Porous Cyclodextrin Polymers: A Sustainable and Highly Effective Platform for Water Treatment

Period of Performance: 07/01/2017 - 12/31/2017

$225K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

CycloPure, Inc.
701 GardenView Ct.,Ste19 Array
Encinitas, CA 92024
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project is to remove organic pollutants using newly developed adsorbent materials derived from cyclodextrins. The chemical contamination of water resources due to agricultural, industrial, and human activities is known to have adverse effects on the environment, especially aquatic ecosystems, and human health. Currently utilized adsorbents, particularly activated carbons, typically have limitations in removing micropollutants effectively at environmentally relevant concentrations, ranging from parts per trillion (ppt) to parts per billion (ppb). This project will focus on the fundamental development and manufacture of polymer adsorbents from building blocks derived from corn starch that rapidly sequester many pollutants more effectively than activated carbons. These polymers exhibit tiny pores and high surface areas, and are structurally programmable to target specific contaminants and separation challenges. Current water filtration systems found in homes, hospitals, industrial settings, and municipal wastewater treatment sites will benefit from these activities. This SBIR Phase I project will develop a sustainable materials solution to address the problem of emerging organic contaminants in water. Promising materials are derived from a cyclodextrin monomer and a crosslinker, which react to provide a rigid porous network. Materials derived from this approach remove contaminants from water more effectively than leading adsorbents, such as activated carbons. Previously, initial polymers were prepared at laboratory scales in relatively low yields. The objective of this proposal is to develop polymerization conditions that provide high yields and are amenable to large-scale manufacturing processes, while maintaining the pollutant removal performance of the polymer. This objective will require a systematic study of reaction conditions to minimize side reactions and maximize polymerization efficiency. Structural characterization using various spectroscopies and porosimetry will be used to evaluate the polymerization process as a function of the reaction conditions. The polymer's ability to bind pollutants will also ensure that improved yields still maintain performance. Determining the optimal polymerization conditions and processing protocols will be critical for validating the technical feasibility of the proposed porous cyclodextrin polymer and will also be criteria for the success of this SBIR Phase I project.