News | Nov 1, 2017

9 clean water technologies available for commercial development

Developed in defense laboratories, these clean water technologies are available to small businesses for product development

News Article Image of 9 clean water technologies available for commercial development

A U.S. Army Reserve soldier from the 973rd Quartermaster Company, 346th Transportation Battalion, 166th Regional Support Group, 1st Mission Support Group, sets up a tactical water purification system in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico, Oct. 9, 2017. (Pvt. Alleea Oliver/Army)

The accessibility of clean water free from infectious agents and toxic chemicals is a concern across the world. Over 600 million people lack access to clean water, according to the Global Health Observatory.

And the recent hurricane season exposed vulnerabilities in some public water systems and how quickly emergency supplies of clean water can dwindle.

But there’s hope for the future.

Scientists and engineers working in defense laboratories have developed promising new technologies that support efforts to supply clean water.

And to help find small businesses interested in developing clean water products that can help, TechLink has pooled 9 available technologies from our database 0f military inventions. Just click the title to find out more information and who to contact.

Clean Water Technology 1: Advanced water purification via contactless ion concentration

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have invented a filtration device that concentrates the location of ions within a water stream. Water purification systems struggle to detect contaminants at high dilution, require substantial energy to operate, and can become fouled too easily. The Army’s system and method resist biofouling by design and is comprised of an electrically charged barrier through which water flows. Positively charged particles are diverted out of the flow and water without ions passes through.

Clean Water Technology 2:  Automatic asset detection for disaster relief

Finding a supply source to make clean water isn’t always easy. But Navy researchers have invented detection algorithms that can analyze satellite images to locate assets required for disaster relief. Regions of interest (ROI) can be selected on large area satellite images. Then algorithms perform a spectral analysis by comparing it to a database of spectral angle mapper (SAM) definitions. The algorithms use this comparison to determine asset availability and location, marking them on the ROI. This available technology could be set to detect the spectrum that indicates a body of water.

Clean Water Technology 3:  Low-energy desalination system

This novel invention from Navy researchers uses the ocean’s thermal gradients as the heat source and heat sink for evaporating non-potable salt water under vacuum pressures and then condensing it into clean water. This saves significant cost of having to input all the necessary energy from manmade sources. Though designed to remove salt, the system could also be used on contaminated freshwater.

Clean Water Technology 4:  Hydrolysis system to neutralize toxic chemicals

Army researchers have developed a toxic chemical processing and disposal system that is portable and can be deployed in temporary locations to neutralize a range of bulk chemical agents. The system incorporates a reactor connected to a water source and a reagent(s) source. The toxic agent is put in the reactor and mixed with water and reagent(s) in a batch or continuous-flow setup. System instrumentation monitors temperature, pressure, pH, fluid flow, and quantity of material processed. The system fits on multiple skids for portability and configurability. Applications include neutralization of toxic chemicals used in warfare, acid mine drainage, and chemical spills.

Government personnel help a civilian obtain clean water in Saint Martin

U.S. Marine Cpl. Brandon Fenley, a water support technician with Joint Task Force – Leeward Islands, helps Anne Galegor, right, a representative of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, fill containers with water at a distribution site on Saint Martin, Sept. 15, 2017. (Sgt. Ian Leones/Marine Corps)

Clean Water Technology 5:  Sand filter treatment facility for removing toxic metals from stormwater

A treatment facility for removing toxic metals from stormwater runoff to provide clean water. The treatment facility includes a pretreatment chamber for removing large toxic particles from the storm water runoff and absorbent chamber for removing fine particles of toxic metals from the storm water runoff. The absorption chamber has an absorption bed of three absorptive materials for removing the fine particles of toxic metals from the storm water runoff.

Clean Water Technology 6:  Removing toxic metals from wastewater

The Navy invented a way to make a treatment facility for removing toxic metals from stormwater runoff to provide clean water. The treatment facility includes a pretreatment chamber for removing large toxic particles from the storm water runoff and absorbent chamber for removing fine particles of toxic metals from the storm water runoff. The absorption chamber has an absorption bed of three absorptive materials for removing the fine particles of toxic metals from the storm water runoff.

Clean Water Technology 7:  Potable water from seawater using forward osmosis

You’ve probably heard about reverse osmosis, but why not go forward? The Naval Facilities Engineering Command has done just that with this invention for desalinating seawater. It uses an ammonia bicarbonate forward osmosis desalination process where seawater is pumped through one side of a membrane assembly and a draw solution is pumped through the other side of the membrane assembly. Thus withdraws water molecules from the seawater through the membrane into the draw solution. A draw solution separator receives a heated draw solution that decomposes into ammonia, carbon dioxide, and clean water. The ammonia gas and carbon dioxide gas are recombined with a portion of the potable water stream to reform the ammonium bicarbonate draw solution.

Clean Water Technology 8:  Water sampling device for use with a radiation probe

The Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center has patented a water sampling device for use with a radiation probe. The device includes a base, filtrate reservoir, filter media support disc, and sample reservoir. The sample reservoir may be interchanged with a radiation probe adaptor. The device and method provide a simple and convenient means to separate particulate solids from a water sample prior to measuring radioactivity without the need for a heat source or electrical power to evaporate the water. The device and method can be used with a variety of commercially available radiation probes and is suitable for field applications.

Clean Water Technology 9:  Fluorophthalocyanine photodynamic water sterilization

Invented by the Army, this process sanitizes contaminated water by exposing the water to an electrically neutral metal complex of a perfluoroalkylated fluorinated phthalocyanine photosensitizer and light, which creates sufficient quantities of singlet oxygen to destroy pollutants or pathogens present in the water.

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