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    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2010-08-23 16:40:00
    • Article ID: 567718

    New Firm to Develop Ohio University "Pee Power" Wastewater Remediation Technology

    Contacts: Director of Research Communications Andrea Gibson, (740) 597-2166, gibsona@ohio.edu; Kent Shields, (763) 807-8473, shields@e3cleantechnologies.com or info@e3cleantechnologies.com; Gerardine Botte, (740) 294-1095, botte@ohio.edu.

    ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 23, 2010)—E3 Technologies, LLC, a new firm based in Athens, Ohio, will develop an Ohio University invention called the “GreenBox” designed to clean commercial and agricultural wastewater and produce hydrogen energy -- a technology that’s been described as “pee power.”

    The company, founded by the Ohio University faculty inventor of the technology, Gerardine Botte, is a new tenant in the Innovation Center, the university’s small high-tech business incubator. E3 recently licensed a suite of electrochemical devices and technologies developed by Botte to commercialize for the green energy market.

    “The ‘GreenBox’ is the first of many products we’ll be developing. I think we have the right team at the right time—energy and water issues are huge right now,” said Botte, the chief technology officer for the company who also is a professor of biomolecular and chemical engineering at Ohio University.

    Through a patented low-energy electrolysis process, the “GreenBox” converts ammonia and urea in wastewater to hydrogen, nitrogen and pure water. The electric current in the device creates an electrochemical reaction that oxidizes urea and turns it into carbon dioxide, which is then sequestered in the electrolyte material in the machine. The box also produces hydrogen energy.

    “It’s a synergistic technology: By reducing emissions, you also get a free, clean source of energy. As the clean energy economy develops, this could provide an attractive energy source,” said company CEO Kent Shields, who has 30 years of experience in the energy field.

    Urea electrolysis also could be used as an extremely efficient process for producing ammonia for selective catalytic reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions, he added.

    “Nitrogen oxide (NOx) is a particular problem in coal power plant and diesel exhaust,” Shields said. “We have received some very exciting inquiries from companies in both areas.”

    The technology also could help a wide variety of industries—from the military and agriculture to wastewater treatment operations and commercial construction companies—deal with the disposal of ammonia, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers to be a serious environmental toxin, Botte said. Ammonia in wastewater from agricultural, industrial and municipal sources impacts air quality, surface water and ground water.

    The researcher is hopeful that the invention could aid farmers, who often are faced with using or purchasing additional land to create lagoons for the large amount of animal waste from hogs or cattle subject to EPA regulations. A farmer with 2,000 hogs might need a “GreenBox” that runs on only 5 kilowatts of power—the same amount of power needed in an average home—to treat the ammonia waste, Botte said.

    E3 forecasts similar energy efficiencies for other uses: A commercial building with 300 employees would need a unit that requires only 1 kilowatt to operate, Botte said. The technology could reduce operational costs for eliminating ammonia from wastewater by 60 percent.

    The company now plans to develop a larger-scale, commercial prototype of the “GreenBox” by the third quarter of 2011, Shields said. E3, which has received initial assistance from TechGROWTH Ohio, a small business support program funded by the state’s Third Frontier initiative, plans to seek additional investors and grant funding.

    Though it’s early to predict how many jobs the company will support in southeastern Ohio, Shields said, “we anticipate being able to generate jobs that will attract people from different fields and education levels—from science and engineering to sales and marketing to manufacturing.”

    The E3 agreement is one of several licenses Ohio University has signed in recent years to develop faculty technologies, ranging from an algae-fueled bioreactor and a device that detects the durability of highway asphalt to various biotechnology discoveries for the medical field.

    “E3 has developed an innovative use for Dr. Botte’s promising technology,” said Rathindra Bose, vice president for research at Ohio University. “I’m pleased that we were able to help take this invention from the laboratory to the marketplace.”

    The university is the top public institution in the state of Ohio for royalty income received from its research licenses, according to a recent study by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM). In fiscal year 2010, the institution reported $8.2 million in royalty income.

    Botte’s work is part of a larger cluster of research at Ohio University focused on creating clean, alternative energy sources, mitigating air and water pollution and developing better government policy for energy and environmental issues.

    “Dr. Botte’s work was a significant part of the Russ College’s role in Gov. Strickland’s designation of Ohio University as a Center of Excellence in Energy and the Environment. It’s incredibly exciting to see the progress of these innovations. Commercialization means our society and environment can begin to benefit from this groundbreaking research,” said Dennis Irwin, dean of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology at Ohio University.

    -30-

    Contacts: Director of Research Communications Andrea Gibson, (740) 597-2166, gibsona@ohio.edu; Kent Shields, (763) 807-8473, shields@e3cleantechnologies.com or info@e3cleantechnologies.com; Gerardine Botte, (740) 294-1095, botte@ohio.edu.

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    From the Cosmos to Fusion Plasmas, PPPL Presents Findings at Global APS Gathering

    Invited Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory talks at 60th American Physical Society-Department of Plasma Physics annual meeting.

    Scientists Bring Polymers Into Atomic-Scale Focus

    A Berkeley Lab-led research has adapted a powerful electron-based imaging technique to obtain a first-of-its-kind image of atomic-scale structure in a synthetic polymer. The research could ultimately inform polymer fabrication methods and lead to new designs for materials and devices that incorporate polymers.

    Probing Water's "No-Man's Land" Temperature Region

    Measuring the physical properties of water at previously unexplored temperatures offers insights into one of the world's essential liquids.

    Novel Soil Bacteria with Unusual Genes Synthesize Unique Antibiotic Precursors

    A large-scale soil project uncovered genetic information from bacteria with the capacity to make specialized molecules that could lead to new pharmaceuticals.

    RTI International to Perform Large-Scale Tests of Its Innovative Carbon Capture Technology for Cleaner, Less Costly Power

    RTI International announced today its participation in a 2-1/2 year collaborative project to advance its non-aqueous solvent (NAS)-based CO2 capture technology for post-combustion CO2 capture at coal-fired power plants

    Unlocking the Secrets of Metal-Insulator Transitions

    Using an x-ray technique available at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), scientists found that the metal-insulator transition in the correlated material magnetite is a two-step process. The researchers from the University of California Davis published their paper in the journal Physical Review Letters.

    Scientists find great diversity, novel molecules in microbiome of tree roots

    Researchers with the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered that communities of microbes living near tree roots are ten times more diverse than the human microbiome and produce a cornucopia of novel molecules that could be useful as antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs.

    Broad genome analysis shows yeasts evolving by subtraction

    An unprecedented comparison of hundreds of species of yeasts has helped geneticists brew up an expansive picture of their evolution over the last hundreds of millions of years, including an analysis of the way they evolved individual appetites for particular food sources that may be a boon to biofuels research.

    Scientists shuffle the deck to create materials with new quantum behaviors

    Layered transition metal dichalcogenides or TMDCs--materials composed of metal nanolayers sandwiched between two other layers of chalcogens-- have become extremely attractive to the research community due to their ability to exfoliate into 2D single layers.

    Researchers create most complete high-res atomic movie of photosynthesis to date

    Despite its role in shaping life as we know it, many aspects of photosynthesis remain a mystery. An international collaboration between scientists at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and several other institutions is working to change that. The researchers used SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser to capture the most complete and highest resolution picture to date of Photosystem II, a key protein complex in plants, algae and cyanobacteria responsible for splitting water and producing the oxygen we breathe.


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    Sierra Reaches Higher Altitudes, Takes Number Two Spot on List of Fastest Supercomputers

    Sierra, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's newest supercomputer, rose to second place on the list of the world's fastest computing systems, TOP500 List representatives announced Monday at the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis conference (SC18) in Dallas.

    Green energy: Wind energy agreement will provide savings, 50 percent of electricity needs for Kansas State University Manhattan campus

    Kansas State University has signed an agreement with Westar Energy to provide approximately 50 percent of the energy needs for the university's main Manhattan campus from a wind farm in Nemaha County and save the university nearly $200,000 annually.

    INCITE grants awarded to 62 computational research projects

    The U.S. Department of Energy announced new projects for 2019 through its Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program.

    Argonne's Raj Kettimuthu Named ACM Distinguished Member

    Argonne computer scientist Raj Kettimuthu recently was named a Distinguished Member of the Association for Computing Machinery for his development of tools to analyze and enhance end-to-end data transfer performance.

    Jefferson Lab-Affiliated Researchers Honored as APS Fellows

    The Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility now has a few more fellows on campus. The American Physical Society, a professional membership society that works on behalf of the physics community, recently announced its list of 2018 fellowships.

    Jefferson Lab Receives DOE Award for Energy Efficient Upgrade

    On Oct. 23, a team from the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility was honored at the 2018 Federal Energy and Water Management Award Ceremony for upgrades made to the lab's data center, ultimately improving its energy efficiency.

    Free Science Events and Educational Opportunities Expected to Draw Thousands

    The Plasma Sciences Expo--planned as the biggest celebration of plasma physics in the country--presents teachers, students and the public with a free opportunity to explore what scientists call "the fourth state of matter."

    Triad National Security Takes the Helm at Los Alamos National Laboratory

    LOS ALAMOS, N.M., November 1, 2018 -- Los Alamos National Laboratory begins operations today under a new management and operating (M&O) contract between Triad National Security, LLC (Triad) and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The NNSA awarded the M&O contract to Triad on June 8, 2018.

    Texas McCombs Master of Science Programs in Finance, Marketing and Energy Receive STEM Certification

    Several programs within the McCombs School of Business have received STEM designation.

    Brookhaven Lab Launches "PubSci Playback" Podcast

    Brookhaven National Laboratory has launched a podcast based on its live science cafe and conversation series, PubSci. Since 2014, PubSci has been offering the public a chance to see a more casual side of the groundbreaking science happening every day at Brookhaven Lab.


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    Probing Water's "No-Man's Land" Temperature Region

    Measuring the physical properties of water at previously unexplored temperatures offers insights into one of the world's essential liquids.

    Novel Soil Bacteria with Unusual Genes Synthesize Unique Antibiotic Precursors

    A large-scale soil project uncovered genetic information from bacteria with the capacity to make specialized molecules that could lead to new pharmaceuticals.

    Warmer Temperatures Lengthen Growing Season, Increase Plants' Vulnerability to Frost

    Experimental warming treatments show how peatland forests may respond to future environmental change.

    Rising Stars Seek to Learn from the Master: Mother Nature

    A trio of scientists was recognized for their early career successes in uncovering how microbes produce fuel, insights that could change our energy portfolio

    How Plant Cells Decide When to Make Oil

    Signaling mechanism details discovered, potentially leading to strategies to engineer plants that make more bio-oil.

    Cryocooler Cools an Accelerator Cavity

    Researchers demonstrated cryogen-free operation of a superconducting radio-frequency cavity that might ease barriers to its use in societal applications.

    Shining Light on the Separation of Rare Earth Metals

    New studies identify key molecular characteristics to potentially separate rare earth metals cleanly and efficiently with light.

    Placing Atoms for Optimum Catalysts

    Precise positioning of oxygens could help engineer faster, more efficient energy-relevant chemical transformations.

    How to Make Soot and Stardust

    Scientists unlock mystery that could help reduce emissions of fine particles from combustion engines and other sources.

    Breaking the Symmetry Between Fundamental Forces

    Scientists improve our understanding of the relationship between fundamental forces by re-creating the earliest moments of the universe.


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