Weekly Tech Roundup | Feb 8, 2019

Weekly tech roundup: environmental technology special edition

This week’s tech roundup includes just a few of the latest environmental technologies available at the moment. All of them are opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses to license and bring to the commercial market.

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And here is this week’s environmental technology roundup:

Detection of heavy metals by means of fluorescence change detectable by the naked eye

Many pollution problems could be mitigated if an easy, in-situ analytical method existed to indicate the presence of contaminated water.

Currently, the state of the art technique for metal detection in water is inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry – a laboratory centric method.

Navy researchers have developed a simple, easily scaled process for producing fluorescent nanoparticles, including quantum dots that are relatively non-toxic and environmentally stable in both air and water.

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Environmentally safe bipropellant fuel system decreases handling complexity

If launching rockets is your business, you’ll want to take notice of the Air Force’s new bipropellant fuel system: it’s truly clean and green, and it moves the needle on performance.

Air Force scientists have developed and patented an environmentally responsible ionic liquid bi-propulsion system that addresses the toxicity of the oxidizer, diminishing the many operational constraints of state-of-the-art hypergolic fuel systems. The invention is an advanced bipropellant leveraging a fuel mixture of at least two ionic liquids, one of which must be metal-containing.

This advancement is on the leading edge, as the scientific community has not realized hydrogen peroxide to be reactive with ionic liquids.

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Adsorption, absorption, and separation fibers with greater capacity

Air Force scientists have developed new fluid separation devices with high efficiency absorptive and adsorptive materials. An axial capillary slit through the side of a non-porous hollow fiber acts as a capillary into the fiber and dramatically increases the efficiency and usefulness of such hollow fibers over such fibers having capillary entrances in only the ends.

Specifically, the rate of fluid movement through the axial capillary slit and the total fluid capacity of the hollow fiber are significantly increased.

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Swift and sensitive TNT detection

Trinitrotoluene (TNT) has various applications in industrial settings and is also used as energetic material in military ordnance.

The U.S. government is concerned about TNT’s unlawful use as a weapon. But also its lawful use’s impact on the environmental, such as at military installations. Trace amounts of TNT can be found in water streams and soils near military installations, presenting a possible public health hazard.

Tasked with developing alternative analytical methods and devices for identifying the presence of TNT at very low levels in a field setting, Navy scientists have developed a simple approach utilizing non-toxic, environmentally stable, quantum dots (QDs).

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High surface area air filter that can be formed in multiple shapes

Common chemical and biological air-purifying filtration devices employ multiple layers of filter media to provide protection against a wide range of aerosol and chemical threat agents.

The Army has developed a new system in which filter material (aerosol and carbon) and the enclosure can be molded into various shapes to occupy new spaces such as the interior of a helmet.

With this design, the number of carbon composite layers can be reduced to three layers in some applications. Such reduced thickness enables filter modules to be positioned in additional locations. Performance levels can be maintained or improved while airflow resistance continues to be reduced.

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Toxic agent neutralizer

The potential threat of an intentional release of chemical nerve agents along with thousands of fatalities in developing countries every year caused by pesticide exposure has made treatments for these types of poisonings a persistent focus for therapeutic intervention.

Army researchers have genetically engineered a more effective broad spectrum enzymatic antidote to toxic chemicals based on organophosphorus compounds.

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Headshot Image of Austin Leach, PhD, CLP

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