International Firm Taps UALR-Assisted Startup for Water Purification
Source Newsroom: University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Newswise — Little Rock, Ark. (Aug. 20, 2014)-- Arkansas-based Synanomet LLC – a spin-off company from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock – recently executed a comprehensive partnering agreement with AbTech Industries Inc. (OTC BB: ABHD), a worldwide leader in addressing issues related to water pollution and contamination.
AbTech identified the technology developed at UALR and licensed to Synanomet by UALR TechLaunch, the technology transfer office of UALR, as a viable approach for the removal of heavy metals and other soluble impurities from contaminated water.
AbTech will have exclusive use of the technology for stormwater and produced water, including oil and gas and mining fields and non-exclusive use for industrial wastewater, under its own company brand.
Synanomet is led by Chief Executive Officer/Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Tito Viswanathan, a professor in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts, Letters and Sciences at UALR.
His work focuses on innovative renewable resource utilization; in particular, novel carbon-based materials with multiple applications.
Viswanathan, a professor of organic chemistry, has created nanostructured materials that are highly effective at removing phosphates as well as targeted heavy metals such as selenium, chromium, copper, lead, and zinc.
The comprehensive agreement with AbTech includes an intellectual property licensing agreement, a contract manufacturing agreement, and a research and development agreement.
“Any single one of these agreements alone would have been wonderful,” said UALR TechLaunch Director Jeff Stinson, whose office helped to structure the deal between AbTech, Synanomet and UALR.
“From a tech transfer perspective, to have all three agreements secured from an international leader in water treatment management is a home run. It’s a best case scenario.”
Viswanathan said that AbTech’s approach to water reuse and recycling closely mirrors his own vision of using a more environmentally friendly technology to solve serious problems plaguing the entire world.
"UALR has invested in an important capability, making us prepared to turn this novel technology into a viable commercial venture,” he said.
AbTech also tested the Synanomet-developed composite media on synthetic spiked samples of selenium, a highly toxic element that plagues the mining industry and can lead to serious consequences including neurological damage in humans. The results have been extremely promising.
AbTech is proceeding to field validation at both mining sites and stormwater applications, anticipating commercialization in the coming months. Both AbTech and Synanomet will collaborate to expand the technology.
Synanomet is a research and development firm founded to commercialize technology developed at UALR by Dr. Viswanathan. The company's primary focus is applying novel nanocomposites for water purification. Its multiple patents cover synthesis and applications of novel carbon-based materials for a multitude of applications
AbTech Industries Inc. (a subsidiary of Abtech Holdings Inc.) is a full-service environmental technologies and engineering firm dedicated to providing innovative solutions to communities, industry, and governments addressing issues of water pollution and contamination. Its products are based on polymer technologies capable of removing hydrocarbons, sediment, and other foreign elements in stormwater runoff (ponds, lakes, and marinas), flowing water (curbside drains, pipe outflows, rivers, and oceans), and industrial process and wastewater. AbTech's offerings include the ground-breaking new antimicrobial technology called Smart Sponge(R) Plus.
About UALR TechLaunch
UALR TechLaunch is the technology transfer office at UALR. Its goal is to serve the university and the public by helping faculty, students, and staff protect and realize the full commercial potential of their inventions. By providing expertise in intellectual property protection, licensing, investment funding, and spinoff startups and working with a network of entrepreneurs, economic developers, and industry experts, TechLaunch’s mission is to help create sustainable, high-paying Arkansas jobs and groom the next generation of entrepreneurs.