PCI Awarded EPA SBIR Phase I Grant To Develop Regenerable Designer Nanomaterials For Improved Air Cleaning

September 01, 2015

(North Haven, CT) Precision Combustion Inc. (PCI) announced today that it has been awarded an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SBIR Phase I grant to develop novel functionalized carbon nanomaterials for use in air filters, especially for removal of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from indoor air.

Current building filtration systems do not generally remove VOCs from the air, mostly relying upon diluting the VOC load with cleaner outdoor air to moderate VOC build-up. PCI proposed tunable nanosorbents offer the potential for a number of advantages, including design-enhanced effectiveness for targeted VOCs, improved regenerability, and effectiveness across a wider range of VOCs compared with existing filter materials. In volume, the materials need not be expensive, yet they could be much more effective than conventional materials for their intended purpose. A nanostructured air filter could achieve more reliable levels of indoor air quality, while reducing the requirement for makeup air, lowering energy use, and providing operating and capital cost savings.

In the project, PCI will develop new materials tailored to the purpose of sorption of a broad array of air contaminants from indoor or industrial sources. The new nanocarbon sorbent offers to overcome current limitations of commercial sorbents used for air purification, such as loss of capacity due to competitive adsorption, inadequate regenerability, limited ability to handle multiple classes of contaminants, and limited volumetric capacity. According to Dr. Codruta Loebick, the Principal Investigator for this project, “Our material will leverage the unique physical and chemical properties of nanostructured sorbents, designing extremely high surface areas and various surface chemical and physical functionalities to specific challenging VOCs of interest, plus explore tunability to also capture heavy metals.”

Primary applications are for buildings where VOCs (or other gaseous air contaminant) control is desired, with segments of interest including new buildings, “sick” buildings, enclosed volumes where there is an undesired added VOC source, and green buildings in general where higher indoor air quality is desired. Kevin Burns, PCI President, adds “This so-called “designer nanomaterial” approach offers an exciting direction to develop a significantly more effective VOC filter material, with the ability to design targeted capabilities while retaining a broad multi-pollutant impact. We’ll be exploring economic drivers especially for specific problems such as improved regenerability and challenging VOCs such as involving industrial processes. We are interested in exploring potential industrial collaborations to further develop and mature the technology towards commercialization.”

Precision Combustion, Inc. is a clean energy technology company developing and manufacturing catalytic devices and systems for energy sector applications.  To learn more, visit www.precision-combustion.com.

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