Processing Magazine

Professor patents new perchlorate-removing technology

June 13, 2012

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — Central Michigan University faculty member Anja Mueller has invented a method to filter 300 times more perchlorates from water than typical consumer filters currently on the market. The technology, recently licensed by CMU, is being developed into products that will be easy to install and can be utilized by popular home purification methods.

Common filtering methods on the market capture contaminates in a screening system. Mueller has patented a chemical compound process that ionically bonds to perchlorates in water, allowing these contaminates to be removed from drinking water.

“Perchlorate is a contaminate that is difficult to remove because it is highly water soluble and does not attach to mineral surfaces,” said Mueller. “As a result, 10 percent of all drinking water in the U.S. is known to contain perchlorates.”

Exposure to perchlorates is extremely dangerous to pregnant women, fetuses and infants. It has been linked to the disruption of thyroid hormone, leading to brain development issues and contributing to cancer.

Timing is critical for this patented process as the EPA is developing new regulations for drinking water. New standards are expected to be implemented in 2013. Currently there are no filters available on the market to remove perchlorates.

“The idea is to take this chemical compound and put it into a personal water filter,” said Erik Hall, president of Lee Shore Ventures, the company established to commercialize the perchlorate filtering process. “This technology is so different in what it does to remove contaminates it’s poised to change the entire water filtration market.”

CMU-RC assisted Mueller and Hall in licensing the technology with Central Michigan University and provided resources to establish a business in order to commercialize the patented process.

“When a researcher is working on a project within a university, they have to determine what their role is going to be, if they’re interested in commercializing that technology,” said Erin Strang, president and CEO of CMU-RC. “We’ve been working with Anja to round out her team to help bring her technology out into the marketplace.”