SBIR-STTR Award

Novel Hybrid Porous Materials for the Selective Capture of Contaminants and/or Valuable Metal Ions from Water
Award last edited on: 1/5/2023

Sponsored Program
SBIR
Awarding Agency
DOE
Total Award Amount
$1,349,970
Award Phase
2
Solicitation Topic Code
C51-19b
Principal Investigator
Stephen Hudson

Company Information

Tetramer Technologies LLC

657 South Mechanic Street
Pendleton, SC 29670
   (864) 646-6282
   tom.demoss@tetramertechnologies.com
   www.tetramer.com
Location: Single
Congr. District: 03
County: Anderson

Phase I

Contract Number: DE-SC0021586
Start Date: 2/22/2021    Completed: 11/21/2021
Phase I year
2021
Phase I Amount
$199,970
Heavy metal ions are released into the environment from man-made sources and can cause significant negative impacts. These non-biodegradable elements are persistent in the environment and can increase in concentration as they travel up the food chain via bioaccumulation, posing a serious threat to soils, plants, animals, and humans. There is a need for highly selective filtration materials that can target these ions in water with a high degree of selectivity and adsorption capacity in a cost and energy efficient manner. Tetramer Technologies is developing a novel, robust, commercial adsorbent filtration medium that will enable the rapid, selective capture of toxic heavy metal contaminants in water sources. The innovation of this technology is the modular design capabilities that will allow customization of adsorbent properties for specific applications. Example uses could include remediation of contaminated water sources in third- world countries where industrial wastes have polluted natural resources or recovery of precious metal catalysts from a manufacturer’s waste stream which allows catalysts to be reclaimed and recycled yielding lower operational costs. In either case, a customized, high selectivity adsorbent filtration medium is ideal because it will capture target analytes with high selectivity and mitigate fouling by non-target matrix contaminants. The result is a longer lifetime, more cost-effective adsorbent that requires less maintenance and fewer regeneration cycles. During this Phase I, Tetramer will investigate the fabrication of this novel adsorbent material using commercially available components to better understand the process parameters and how they affect the properties of the final product. Filter materials produced with these different methods will then be characterized for heavy metal ion capture in aqueous environments, water stability, and recyclability as a proof-of-principle analogue for future designs. Successful completion of the Phase I program will lead to scale up and commercialization of these novel materials for applications such as water polishing for industrial or municipal operations and or recycling of precious metal wastes for extremely rare precious metals like rhodium or platinum.

Phase II

Contract Number: DE-SC0021586
Start Date: 4/4/2022    Completed: 4/3/2024
Phase II year
2022
Phase II Amount
$1,150,000
Increased demand for electronics and other technologies that utilize heavy metals has resulted in an increased number of contaminants being discharged into the environment. Heavy metal contamination at low concentrations has well-documented and long-lasting deleterious effects on aquatic life as well as human health. The most pervasive heavy metal contaminants include but are not limited to lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and chromium. The current technologies used to treat these pollutants exhibit several disadvantages such as low removal efficiency, high fouling rates, and inadequate selectivity which ultimately result in high energy cost and low operating lifetimes. To overcome these issues, a suite of tailorable adsorption materials will be developed that can selectively remediate valuable and/or toxic metal ions from water. Feasibility efforts during the Phase I research program demonstrated the development of adsorption media in several form factors with a variety of active materials, resulting in a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 3. Based on the needs of industrial and municipal customers as well as filtration technology manufacturers, Phase II efforts will focus on understanding the structure-activity relationship of selective additives and their interactions with binders to optimize the sorbent performance. Down-selected materials will be tested in pilot-scale studies for potential customers to test the sorbents against industrial standards and bring the SBIR technology to a TRL of at least 6. The high metal ion selectivity of the down- selected sorbent media will significantly increase the energy efficiency of heavy metal ion capture processes, reduce fouling of the material, and enable more cost-effective water remediation for multiple industries and applications.